Mindfulness is about living in the moment, and the practice is having a moment! There’s been an explosion of books, podcasts, websites, and apps dedicated to helping people practice mindfulness. According to some sources, the “Mindfulness Market” will be over $2 billion by 2022. This research was done BEFORE the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s resulting increase in stress and stress relief options.
Mindfulness is big business, but does it have a place in business? Many people say yes. Individual practitioners point to benefits they and their employees have received from practicing mindfulness. Large companies also report tangible ROI, saying mindfulness programs reduce healthcare costs. Still others report that mindfulness increases empathy and understanding, leading to less stressful workplaces and better connections with customers.
I Don’t Want to Sit on the Floor
Although “mindfulness” and “meditation” are often used in the same sentence, they are not the same thing. Meditation is the practice of mindfulness. That’s important because anyone can be mindful anywhere. When your boss asks you about a task you’ve already completed for the fifth time, and you don’t respond with swearing, you are being mindful. You have been given a stimulus (nagging) and chosen not to react to it. Obviously, not swearing at your boss is a good decision.
Meditation simply gives you more practice in not responding to external and internal stimulus. Sometimes it’s not our boss that we respond to, but our own internal monologue. However, you don’t have to have a regular meditation practice to be mindful. And, if you are interested in meditation, you don’t need to have a stereotypical meditation practice that involves sitting on the floor cross-legged. Meditation can be done standing, walking, sitting in a chair, or lying down. Simply taking a moment to think before you react can be a sign of mindfulness.
There are many resources out there dedicated to helping you find the right style for you. Many of these resources are free. Remember, people practice mindfulness throughout the world in a lot of situations. You can find free hints and tips to start your own mindfulness practice while you consider whether or not you want to invest in the idea financially.
Bringing Mindfulness to the Workplace
Whether you’re a boss, employee, or manager, if you’re interested in bringing mindfulness training to your workplace it’s best to start with data. Many people still view mindfulness as “out there” or flakey. But, showing people data, and combining that data with personal stories of growth, is a great way to convince them. People respond emotionally to stories, but like data to back up their decisions.
Some ways to bring mindfulness to work include:
- Paying for employees to have access to an app
- Bringing in a mindfulness trainer for occasional sessions
- Creating a mindfulness space within the office
- Creating a “mindfulness group” for interested employees.
If all else fails, you can always bring mindfulness to your office by simply being more mindful yourself. Like empathy and gratitude, mindfulness is contagious. If you start to create a work environment built on thoughtfulness and consideration instead of reaction, others will follow suit.
Mindfulness is not only big business, it’s good for your business, too.