Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness seems to be the lingo today and everyone would agree that it does add a lot of positive value to many aspects of our lives. It is also not surprising that the practice of mindfulness is not new to our century and has its roots in ancient Buddhism.

However, on closer inspection, we realize that mindfulness is not a simple set of rules laid out, but they can be multiple distinct ideas that all break down to living a more “conscious” lifestyle. Furthermore, we realize that work is an important part of our lifestyle. Work occupies a good chunk of our wake times, pays our bills, and gives meaning to our lives. So, it is now more than ever that we realize the potential of mindfulness in our workplaces.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Gone are the days when work was all about toiling away hours and not taking a moment for yourself. Today, the landscape of work has completely changed, focusing on quality over quantity. Here at RemoteStar, we look at mindfulness as a powerful tool to tap on to empower our workforce.

In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, it is shown that mindfulness at work brings about a boost in work focus, increase in creativity, relationship satisfaction, stress reduction, and less rumination. Let us look at them individually to get a better understanding of how these factors interplay in our regular workday.

Focus

We realize that the modern workplace is anything but peaceful. We are only a click away from the local news or the constant buzzing of notifications from our email and chat channels. In this context, it is harder for us to remain focused on the task at hand as we constantly flit from one task to another. The quality of our work can also suffer in turn and the solution to this problem lies in mindfulness. Recent studies show the simple practice of coming back to the present moment repeatedly, helps us to train ourselves to become more focused.

Creativity

Creativity is a result of the ability of our minds to be able to think out of the box. Research has shown that individuals who are in better control of their emotions can experience less stress and process information creatively. Mindfulness can assist in creative thinking by providing increased focus, greater idea generation, and improved receptiveness to new ideas. Creativity is key to problem-solving and goes a long way to make sense out of the piles of information that we gather each day.

Stress

We all agree that while working at some point or the other we are going to be stressed and anxious. This could be either physically, mentally, or even emotionally, depending on the nature of the work. “The key may lie with mindfulness — gently noticing what is going on for us, in the present moment, without passing judgment,” says Heather Craig a provisional psychologist at Monash University in her research on mindfulness and work. She goes on to say that “Mindfulness training has proven benefits for employee health and wellness, including to help decrease workforce stress and build resilience (Hyland et al., 2015)”.

Relationships

Relationships at work, like any of our other relationships, do have their share of ups and downs. However, these relationships have a greater ability to make or break the quality of our work and consequently impact the overall work culture. Hence it is more important for us to use mindfulness techniques while dealing with our peers. Glomb et al.’s (2012) research show how it leads to positive social connections in the workplace through several integral mindfulness processes, especially empathy and response flexibility. Over time these links go beyond the office and create satisfying relationships.

All said, even for the most mindful people, there are those long demanding days with tight deadlines where things go awry. But there is hope in the fact that we are all work in progress — aiming to be better individuals than we were yesterday!

As simply put by Eckhart Tolle, “Wherever you are, be there totally”.

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