Mindfulness Meditation at work
What is mindfulness?
Many people associate mindfulness meditation at work with insight meditation, which starts by focusing on the breath. When your mind wanders, (e.g., errands, a distressing conversation, etc.) and then bring your attention back to your breath. Don't resist your mind’s natural urge to wander, but train it to return to the present. By settling into your body and noticing how it feels, you center yourself in the moment.
Mindfulness enhances emotional intelligence, notably self-awareness and the capacity to manage distressing emotions. It also delivers these measurable benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved memory
- Less depression and anxiety
Mindfulness Meditation At Work
Mindfulness includes a broad spectrum of informal activities in addition to meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Here are a few simple mindfulness techniques that you can incorporate at work:
- Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing.
- Get in touch with your senses by noticing the temperature of your skin and background sounds around you.
- Pay attention to your walking by slowing your pace and feeling the ground against your feet.
You can find examples of more exercises of mindfulness meditations you can practice at work here. The Mindfulness Guide for the Super Busy: How to Live Life to the Fullest
A number of well-known companies have implemented mindfulness meditation at work, including:
- McKinsey & Company
- Deutsche Bank
- Procter & Gamble
- Astra Zeneca
- General Mills
An August Financial Times article describes the growth in mindfulness, and cites General Mills as one company that is making it an integral part of its company culture.
[General Mills] has even begun research into its efficacy, and the early results are striking. After one of Marturano’s seven-week courses, 83 per cent of participants said they were “taking time each day to optimise my personal productivity” – up from 23 per cent before the course. Eighty-two per cent said they now make time to eliminate tasks with limited productivity value – up from 32 per cent before the course. And among senior executives who took the course, 80 per cent reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89 per cent said they became better listeners. The Mind Business
Mindfulness In Silicon Valley
One chapter in Contemplative Practices in Action is devoted to the impact of meditation in the lives of Silicon Valley leaders. In a seminar called Spirituality for Organizational Leadership at Santa Clara University, participants discuss how meditation practices can assist them in leading their organization. Those who complete the seminar tend to integrate what they learned into their busy lives in the following way:
- Anchor your day with a contemplative morning practice (e.g., Breath, Zen, Kabbala, etc.)
- Before entering the workplace, remind yourself of your organization's purpose and recommit to your vocation as a leader
- Throughout the day, pause to be fully present in the moment before undertaking the next critical task
- Review the day's events at the close of the day to prevent work stresses from spilling into your home life
- Before going to bed, engage in some spiritual reading
Mindfulness at Google
Google deserves special mention. Led by Chade-Meng Tan, its Jolly Good Fellow, Google introduced a program to increase emotional intelligence using mindfulness -- and backed by scientific research. It's called Search Inside Yourself and is now offered to organizations outside the Googleplex. Google Asks Employees To Take A Deep Breath
Mindfulness mediation programs are growing in the workplace. Find out more
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk