Mindfulness is everywhere these days, from the cover of Time Magazine to Mindful focused sessions at the World Economic Forum in Davos to companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Aetna and General Mills that have implemented ongoing mindfulness based programs for their employees. The reason behind the raised of mindfulness is very simple, it has proven to work on increasing the overall well-being of the people who practice it.
Our attention is fragmented, therefore our presence is too.
The corporate world moves a greater speed on a daily basis and the only constant is change. While we have been trying to adapt to this reality and continue contributing to our organizations, even our best intentions are not enough. We operate in a very fragmented approach where we are continuously multi tasking, running from one meeting to another and attending many conflicting and urgent priorities, we are almost never truly present, we operate in an auto pilot mode constantly reacting to our work environment, rather than consciously responding to it. When something new arises, we often become stressed. Our minds immediately worry about possible negative outcomes, this negative thinking damages our self-worth, increases anxiety, and hurts our bodies in many ways. But with a mindfulness practice we can retrain our brain so that we approach situations in a calmer, more composed manner. We learn to live in the moment and not fear things that have not even happened yet (and might never happen).
An opportunity to lead from a better place.
Mindfulness is an active approach to work life. It involves paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment in a non judgmental way. This gives you the ability to make a conscious decision on how to respond to your current reality rather than simply react to it. You become present, and start leading from a better place.
As any human ability, in this case mental capacity, mindfulness can be cultivated through formal mental training and other practices that involve contemplation, reflection and conscious action. When we lead a mindful working life, we become more attuned to ourselves and to others. Mindfulness has proven to provide the following benefits to people who practice it at a work setting:
- Increased ability to be present
- Greater well-being
- Optimized personal productivity
- Increased creative and innovative thinking
- Better teamwork and leadership
Mindfulness enables a meaningful connection with oneself, with others and with our life.
Mindfulness can bring this to life at a personal level in three different ways:
- Connecting with oneself: Mindfulness as a practice invite us to connect in a deep and meaningful way with ourselves first. This is accomplished by practices that help us to pay attention to our body sensations, thoughts and emotions, cultivating in that way a positive relationship with our own self.
- Connecting with other people: By paying attention on purpose to the present moment, we connect with people in a deeper way since we are truly present in our interactions with them. We are able to provide the gift of our own presence.
- Connecting with life: Mindfulness help us to stop the autopilot behaviors that we usually experience in our life and replace those by full awareness and presence that allow us experience life as it is, in the present moment. We stop living in the past or in the future, and we begin to live where life always happens, the here and now.
All of the above translates into workplaces that are happier where employees operate with a deeper sense of purpose and meaning, and where the results are achieved with enthusiasm and work is a real source of personal fulfillment.