I had detailed upon the topic of mindfulness in one of my earlier blog posts. Here i would like to highlight the importance and the ways to practice mindfulness at work as part of your daily routine.
Meditation applies the brakes to the mind.Ramana maharishi
Mindfulness as you know is the art of bringing the mind to the present moment. The practice of mindfulness has changed millions of lives world over. Hundreds of CEOs, athletes and stars meditate as a daily practice. The benefits of mindfulness are enhanced focus and effectiveness, mental and emotional well being, and improvement in every aspect of performance. If employees at workplace make use of these benefits of meditation it can do wonders to their performance.
Current State of Mind
Most of us live in a state of stress, anxiety, anger, disconnect, overwhelm, sleeplessness, tiredness and distraction. This leads to negativity, gossip, politics, and lack of clarity and trust that drags leaders, teams, and company cultures down.
As you know, you get better, stronger, and faster at the things you practice most because you form and strengthen neural pathways. The issue is that most of us are training the brain and getting tons of practice doing the wrong things like practicing worry, regret, anxiety, distraction etc. We practice distracting ourselves with social media, worry about uncertainties, ponder over negative things that happened long ago. In other words, we are practicing things that make us unhappy, unfocused, and anxious.
Transitioning the mind
Right from our childhood, we were not trained to practice the right things. We were all given the freedom to do the things that lead to us choosing momentary happiness, distractions that were carried forward to the adulthood.
The result is that, we all slip into distractions several times in a day without our knowledge. Mindfulness improves the ability to know when you’re distracted and it gives you an anchor to come back to a point of focus to lead with specific intentions and values. Attention and awareness training helps you to be more present. Breaking into the practice of mindfulness may seem intimidating. Beginners might be concerned about how to fit the practice into their schedule, or what exactly practicing looks like. Dedicate a few minutes (5 – 10 mins) in a day for the mindfulness training. It will take some time, commitment and consistency before practitioners see meaningful results.
Effect of Employee Well being on Workplace
Occasionally, we get to hear co-workers visiting the gym. Even some big companies have gym inside the campus to keep the employees physically healthy. Thus we can say, physical well being to be a topic of discussion in the workplace. But emotional well being is rarely discussed. Employee burnout and a decrease in productivity are results of ignoring emotional health. That has a domino effect on focus, collaboration, and culture. Building resilience and emotional intelligence allows employees to deal with stress in a healthy and productive way. It’s about time managers put an emphasis on the importance of managing stress in the workplace.
The ongoing need to balance work and life, eat healthily, and meet job expectations can stress employees out. A culture of wellness consists of less stress, sparks in productivity, and overall happier employees. When your workplace is filled with positive people, it becomes easy for your employees to feel supported whenever needed. Supporting a healthy lifestyle can bring about a culture that consists of happy, healthy and more engaged employees. Happy and healthy employees make for an efficient workforce.
Particulars of mindfulness practice at workplace
Harnessing the power of mind is critical for surviving the stresses and pressures that can come from the modern workplace. In order to implement this, you don’t need to go on a retreat or meditate on a mountaintop. Just practice mindfulness at workplace as follows.
- Start your day with mindfulness practice
Some people meditate in the mornings at home. However, others who don’t find time, can take 5-10 minutes at your desk at office to boost your brain with a short mindfulness practice before you dive into any activity. Close your eyes, relax, and sit upright. Place full focus on your breath. Any time you find your mind distracted, simply release the distraction by returning your focus to your breath.
- Work in focused intervals
Give yourself an hour or an hour and a half to work diligently on an activity, and then take a break. For maximum focus, be sure to keep your phone out of sight during these intervals. During breaks, nourish your mind and body with a healthy snack/drink or by getting outside. Though i rarely move outside, i make it a point to do the mindfulness practice at my desk.
- Catch yourself multitasking
Just being aware of when you are multitasking is a good foundation for working mindfully. Choose the priority task, stop any others, and work sequentially, one thing at a time. Notice your impulse to jump to another activity, take a breath, and return attention to the prioritized task at hand.
- Mindful Meetings
Some of us attend a lot of meetings in a week while others attend a meeting or two only. For the people who attend a lot of meetings, some of them might be pointless. Taking a more mindful approach to the meetings will make sure you get the most out of them. This will in turn result in increased productivity. Though i have implemented a few of the below points in my meetings, i hope to follow all the points in my future meetings.
- Practice mindfulness for the first two minutes of the meeting, allowing everybody to be present both physically and mentally.
- No device usage is allowed unless it’s necessary for the meeting.
- Share all information before the meeting via email or handouts.
- Notes of the meeting should be documented.
- Conclude the meeting by allowing each participant to talk freely for 1 minute to relay anything of importance to them, while the others mindfully listen.
- After Lunch Time Mindfulness
As the day progresses into the afternoon time and your brain starts to tire, mindfulness can help you stay sharp and avoid poor decisions. Every hour make it a point to follow the mindfulness practice for a minute or two by either focusing on the breath or mantra or body scan. These mindful performance breaks will help keep you from resorting to autopilot mode.
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