Mindfulness at the Workplace: Does it Work?

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Do you find yourself daydreaming or having problems to stay focused at work? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

Picture this: you’re at the office, physically at least, but your mind wanders somewhere else, worrying about the economy, credit card debts, social media trends or what to eat for dinner.

What if I told you it has nothing to do with poor focus or attention problems? Your mind is amazing, and it does wonder to serve you well. That’s why it tries to keep up with the fast-paced style of living you’re immersed in. In fact, the overall pace of life has increased enormously in the past years according to British psychologist, Dr Richard Wiseman, and it seems we’re not slowing down a bit.

This affects productivity, as well as the success of startups, and small businesses. So, what are your chances as a small business if you want you and your coworkers to stay on track while improving wellbeing?

You’re right, mindfulness is the answer.

What is mindfulness and how it adds value to the workplace

Mindfulness is not a groundbreaking concept but due to the overall severe anxiety and stress levels, it has proved a marvellous strategy to help us survive these fast-paced times.

The short story of Mindfulness in the US starts at the MIT. In 1979 Kabat-Zinn created the Stress Reduction Clinic, and later, the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus, had the first contact with mindfulness through Buddhism and meditation back when he was just a student at the MIT.

According to Kabat-Zinn (2013), mindfulness is “…The psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.”

Ok, so what’s with mindfulness and the workplace? Before you start wondering, it’s not about meditating at the office –even though some studies would encourage such a practice. But about being aware, really aware of what’s happening at work.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Focus on your breath: If your mind starts wandering, do some deep breathing exercises. It will only take you 5 mins and it will help you get back.
  2. Forget about the blank mind: Mindfulness isn’t about disposing of every thought. Instead, pay attention. There are little things that go unnoticed and if you’re trapped in your head, you miss them. Meetings at work can be more productive when we actually pay attention to the little things.
  3. Allow for time and space between activities: If you’re the one in charge, remember everyone to take five (or ten) between meetings and certain tasks. It will increase productivity and focus. Just remember there’s no point in having 5 mins to check social media. That’s not resting.
  4. Allow everyone to explore mindfulness at their own pace: The fact that you see mindfulness as a great tool doesn’t mean everyone would perceive it the same way. So before becoming a mindfulness guru, let people approach mindfulness on their own.

Have you tried mindfulness at the workplace? Make sure to let us know what you think and check our blog for more tips on small businesses, technology and the latest marketing trends.

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