With a seemingly ever-increasing amount of responsibilities on our plates, it can be difficult to successfully navigate today’s fast-paced business world while reaching our full potential.
The good news is that there’s a simple mental trick—a philosophy of sorts called mindfulness—that many businesses are embracing to help employees remove the clutter from their lives so they can better focus on the present moment and be more effective at their jobs.
Simply defined, mindfulness teaches us to look inwardly, becoming aware of the thoughts and feelings that exist in the present moment and accepting them without prejudice. Proponents say that through meditation, we become more relaxed and more focused.
Odds are companies like Google, Aetna and Goldman Sachs wouldn’t embrace mindfulness if it didn’t deliver results. The research that proves the effectiveness of mindfulness exists: Those who set aside ample time for introspection and meditation are likely to be less stressed, more energetic and sharper.
Beyond that, mindfulness:
- Helps keep us in check. Mindfulness prevents those who practice it from becoming drunk on power. Outcomes and opinions are neither right nor wrong—they just are. One recent study revealed that those who accept thoughts and emotions without judgment aren’t as excited by immediate rewards. This sets the stage for a productive, level-headed approach to work.
- Makes us healthier. For most of us, it’s impossible to be as effective when we’re sick. When we’re more in tune with our thoughts, our blood pressure is lower, our immune system is stronger and we’re less sensitive to pain. Our memory also improves, and we’re able to better focus on the task at hand.
- Improves our relationships. Harvard Professor Ellen Langer says that when we’re mindful, we like other people more. We’re more charismatic and less evaluative of the opinions of others, so they like us more, too. Mindfulness also improves the relationships we have with ourselves, helping us let go of regret, Langer says.
- Lets us disconnect. The world is powered by mobile devices. With email in our pockets at all times, it can be difficult to find time to enjoy a completely non-digital existence, if only for a few moments. Mindfulness serves as a great excuse to unplug. Remember, clients won’t vanish the second the screen goes black.
Don’t sweat it: You don’t have to devote entire days or even afternoons toward mindfulness in order to notice profound changes. In fact, spending as little as 10 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing, i.e., being alone with our thoughts without any distractions, can go a long way toward positively transforming our outlook on life and approach to work.
And it’s not that hard to get mindfulness and meditation started at your organization, either, thanks to apps like Headspace that provide users with customized mental training programs that can be accessed from any connected device. (People like LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner swear by it.)
Easy and inexpensive to implement with the promise of incredible benefits, mindfulness is changing businesses of all sizes. Is it time your company considers giving it a whirl?