You don’t often hear mindfulness mentioned in the workplace but perhaps you should. Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention non-judgmentally in the present moment, identifying and controlling your emotions, and being aware of how your actions impact others. Once considered too “out there” for many business people, the benefits of mindfulness are making it an increasingly popular practice.
In fact, mindfulness has become so popular that companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Intel, Starbucks and General Mills advocate the value of it, and some of those companies have even developed their own mindfulness programs. The reasons for the practice’s growing popularity are myriad but can primarily be attributed to the following:
Mindfulness improves concentration. Fortune’s Oliver Ryan reports that after studying the brain activity of Tibetan monks, Dr. Richard Davidson discovered that “the brain functioning of serious meditators is ‘profoundly different’ from that of nonmeditators – in ways that suggest an elevated capacity to concentrate and to manage emotions.”
Mindfulness reduces stress. Research has shown that those who meditate have a reduction of grey matter in the amygdala, a region associated with stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness prevents burnout. The physician occupation is one that is associated with a high rate of burnout; anywhere from one-third to one-half of doctors suffer from it. Yet a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that physicians who practice mindfulness experience less burnout.
Mindfulness increases creativity. Intel began a mindfulness program and when it concluded, participants reported an increase in new ideas, insights, mental clarity, and creativity.
As you can see, mindfulness offers a number of benefits that can boost workplace performance. If you’d like to become more mindful, stay tuned! In a future article, we’ll discuss how you can establish your own mindfulness practice.