While you may have heard of mindfulness, you are forgiven if you ignored learning more about it because of its “trendiness.” Despite its hip reputation, mindfulness is a philosophical outlook and practice with roots in Buddhism. In recent years, though, it has spread to the boardrooms of Google and General Mills, among other big names.
With so many major organizations seeing the benefits of mindfulness, it’s time to adopt mindful management practices for yourself and your company. Here are four ways you can use mindfulness to better your business.
1. Recognize—and Eliminate—Bad Habits
To be mindful is to be present—to have a conscious but nonjudgmental awareness of the “why” behind your actions or emotions. And when you consider that roughly 40% of our actions are habits rather than active decisions, being mindful or self-aware of why you do what you do can transform your business.
When you practice mindfulness to examine your response to everyday issues, you become aware of your habitual actions that might be counterproductive to your goals, both personal and professional. Once you can recognize those self-sabotaging habits, you can take the necessary steps to fix them.
2. Cultivate Mindful Business Relationships
Practicing mindfulness with your team is essential to creating supportive relationships that will extend past your tenure at any company. So practice active listening, become aware of interpersonal cues, and ask clarifying questions when you don’t understand.
Reflecting carefully on how you interact with your coworkers will enable you to reach a greater depth of trust and understanding with your team, which is essential to creating a culture of social sensitivity. Genuinely supporting your team members will also help you build strong reciprocal relationships, according to Elli Bishop at Business.org: “Act as a mentor for your colleagues when they need guidance, support their career decisions, and ask how you can help. Your colleague should be willing to return the favor. A good professional partnership is not only powerful and long lasting, but highly supportive as well.”
3. Fight Off Workplace Stress and Anxiety
Mindfulness, specifically mindful meditation, was found to help US Marines manage stress and anxiety before deployment. And while you may not be going to a literal war zone when you go to work every day, managing a team of people is a different type of battle that can stress even the best managers out.
By incorporating mindful meditation into your daily life, you can manage your stress and anxiety in a productive way. And when you’re not stressed or anxious, you can also be a better boss and manager.
4. Make Smarter Business Decisions
Many of us make our worst decisions when we are stressed. Stress fatigues your executive functions—but mindfulness can restore them. One study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had more cortex folding, which is believed to improve neural processes like decision-making and information processing.
Mindfulness doesn’t just help you in the moment of actually making a choice—it can improve your experience at every step of the decision-making process. In an article for Forbes, Natalia Karelaia, assistant professor of decision sciences, notes that “decision-makers who fail to link decisions with their major goals may find their choice takes them somewhere they don’t necessarily want to be,” while mindful decisions-makers “take time to pause and reflect and listen to their inner selves assessing their own values and objectives.” That mindful consideration at every step of a choice will help align your company’s actions with its goals.
Practicing mindful meditation can increase self-awareness, transforming how you manage your team. Transcend that business-as-usual mentality by mindfully managing your company today.