We’ve all been there before; feeling overwhelmed and experiencing brain fog while at work is commonplace for a majority of the population. These issues can arise for a multitude of reasons.
Sometimes you may be flooded with too many assignments and lose motivation to do anything as a result. Other times, the problem may simply be that you aren’t getting enough sleep. However, all of these problems can stem from a lack of mindfulness in the workplace.
Mindfulness refers to your ability to remain focused and flexible at all times and is a healthier mindset that a lot of people lack at times (myself included!). Mindfulness can be lessened when things get too hectic at work, which can stem from problems outside of work or tight deadlines while at work.
In order to increase mindfulness, though, you need to focus on facilitating the proper efficiency when you’re at work. This can be done by adopting a few simple practices, like preparing yourself for daily tasks, knowing what projects or meetings you’ll need to complete, and what phone calls you might have. You can then practice mindfulness meditation and integrate it into your workday.
Ideally, you should take at least 10 minutes to catch your breath and step away from your workplace. If you can’t step away, you should have a chair that you can relax in to meditate. This can help restore your mind’s focus so you can return reinvigorated, refreshed, and ready to tackle your responsibilities.
In this article, I’ll explore many different ways you can improve your mindfulness in the workplace and explain the various benefits this can offer:
11 Ways You Can Benefit From Mindfulness in The Workplace
1. Boosting Your Creativity
Your mental state heavily influences your creativity. Practicing mindfulness can help you to combat the negative thoughts that impede your ability to think creatively and express yourself. Mindfulness focuses on the present and allows your mind space to freely explore ideas.
2. Increasing Resilience & Emotional Intelligence
Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol notes that mindfulness meditation promotes three things that can help promote emotional intelligence: comprehension of your own emotions, recognizing the emotions of others, and strengthening your control over your own emotions.
Mindfulness can also help a person learn how to utilize their own emotions, teaching them how to recognize which emotions can be valuable when completing certain tasks.
I didn’t try to understand what my team was going through. I would just get angry if they did not perform according to my expectations, CEO and Founder of Sattva, Archana Patchirajan, remarked on her early years as a leader. She had a certain vision of how she wanted things to happen and was adamant that they must happen on her schedule. She was not flexible at all.
However, that changed. Thanks to meditation, I have developed patience, Archana remarked. I have a better relationship with my team. Best of all, I maintain my peace of mind.
3. Making You More Adaptable
The ability to swiftly adjust to new situations and manage multiple tasks at once is essential in the workplace, and so efficiency and adaptability are highly sought-after traits.
Your adaptability will grow the more often that you experience situations where you are forced to learn new things, do things differently than you’re used to, and gain confidence in uncertain times.
Adaptability is an important leadership quality, as most leaders are required to quickly adjust their priorities and be flexible with their beliefs.
4. Improving Your Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving, usually recognized as the ability to clear your mind and focus on creating a solution, is further facilitated by mindfulness.
Being mindful helps you to eliminate distractions and look at a situation in a new light, allowing you to concentrate and get the job done quickly.
If you are in the midst of a challenging task, practicing mindfulness might be what you need in order to process the information in a unique way that leads to a solution.
5. Retaining New Information
Scientific research has shown that a well-rested brain holds more space for absorbing new information.
Taking a break from tasks that stress your brain like learning new skills, problem-solving, or critical thinking can help prime your brain for future learning opportunities and help you access more creative potential.
If your brain does not get enough breaks, you can experience exhaustion, increased stress levels, and stagnant thinking, especially if you are working on a task that requires an extended amount of focus and effort.
6. Reducing Your Stress at Work
There are 550 million workdays lost due to workplace absence, and according to The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, stress-related absences account for more than half of them.
The Agency’s study revealed that up to 80% of employees experience feelings of stress in the workplace that they are unable to manage. Furthermore, Paychex surveyed over 2,000 employees and revealed that stress can be caused by factors both in and outside of work (i.e., workload, job security, and finding the right work-life balance).
Excessive workplace stress is a hindrance to productivity, and so the topic of mindfulness has become prevalent in many conversations amongst businesses.
A multitude of major corporations has created mindfulness programs intended to help their employees reduce their stress levels and re-engage with their work.
From tech companies like Google and Adobe to Goldman Sachs and Target, businesses are realizing the importance of mindfulness in the workplace. Even organizations such as General Mills, Aetna, and Mayo Clinic are joining the mindfulness train. It has been recognized as an essential strategy used to combat work-induced stress.
7. Increasing Vitality
Every day that you arrive to work, you bring a certain amount of energy to your job; some days you might have a lot, and other days you might feel like you have nothing to give. This phenomenon is known to the scientists who study workplace motivation as vitality. Vitality refers to using your energy to invest in physical tasks and interacting with those around you, and it is essential to simultaneously work and enjoying yourself.
Practicing mindfulness in order to stay focused is shown to positively impact your vitality as well as keeping you concentrated on your goals. If you keep your goals at the forefront of your concentration, you are more likely to actively work towards them when you’re experiencing high levels of vitality.
8. Cultivating Creativity
Mindfulness practices are the key to freeing your brain from distractions, allowing you to see every situation in a fresh, untainted light.
Mindfulness is also known to enhance creativity, a large facet of which is divergent thinking. Divergent thinking allows an individual to come up with a multitude of fresh ideas, which allows for more innovation in the workplace. At its core, creativity is just the result of letting a fresh perspective guide a new approach to an old problem.
9. Increased Empathy For Others
The saying to stand in someone else’s shoes is a popular phrase that is often brought up when a difficult situation arises. The ability to experience empathy is key to allowing us to understand the minds of others and relate to their emotional states. Practicing mindfulness in the workplace, especially when you are overwhelmed, helps us to clear our minds and empathize with others.
Remember, it is not uncommon to resort to mindfulness when things get hectic at work.
10. Improves your Focus
It has been proven that your ability to focus on singular tasks and eliminate the habit of feeding into distractions can be improved by meditation training. Improving your focus will translate into everything you do. It is important to avoid multitasking and focus on mono-tasking; a focused mind is a productive mind!
11. Improves Communication
Our world is full of distractions: texts, instant messages, social media updates. There is always something grabbing our attention, and so a lot of us are unable to actively listen and be present in the moment.
Practicing mindfulness can help you relearn how to live in the moment and relate to people with empathy and kindness. Not only will this have a positive impact on others around you, but it improves your day because you are now an active participant in your own life, learning more about others around you.
The Link Between ROI & Mindfulness
So, what’s the bottom line? Does practicing mindfulness really help improve the business? Chapter 7: Socially Responsible of David Gelles’ Mindful Work explores how mindfulness and business interact, highlighting examples of its benefits and the real-world companies who are reaping the rewards. The case of the Aetna company might be the most compelling argument in favor of mindfulness.
After a ski accident left him in chronic pain, the CEO of Aetna Mark Bertolini introduced a mindfulness program to the company.
Aetna began a partnership with the American Viniyoga Institute and eMindful, implementing a pilot program with 239 employees. This program has expanded, with now more than a quarter of Aetna’s 50,000-strong workforce having participated in at least one mindfulness class.
Those who have experienced a mindfulness class have on average reported their stress levels reducing by 28%, their quality of sleep improving by 20%, and their pain experience reducing by 19%.
Employees who have participated in the program have also seen an increase in efficiency, averaging an additional 62 minutes of productivity per week.
This increase has an annual estimated value of $3,000 per employee. Furthermore, Aetna has also reported a decrease in the cost of healthcare. The numbers don’t lie: mindfulness is beneficial all across the board.