Why Mindfulness Is Going Corporate

Tuesday October 11th, 2016

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 30 seconds

In all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we can tend to think of about the 101 different things that we need to do or want to do throughout our day. As all of the items on our to-do list start to pile up, so does the stress.

Within ten minutes of sitting down at your desk at work, so much is going on that you are most likely not “on” with your mental game and therefore not as productive as you could be. Research has shown that nearly 47% of the average person’s day is spent thinking about something other than what he or she is currently doing.

Corporate America is battling this mental autopilot through the implementation of mindfulness practices at their businesses, and many are finding it to be an incredible investment!

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully focusing on the present. At its core, it is a form of meditation whereby you push away all other preoccupations and allows yourself to live in the single moment you are in. This practice allows you to let go of thoughts and emotions that may hinder your focus on the present. Turning your attention on inhaling and exhaling often helps.

Mindfulness is also known to improve physical well-being by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and improving sleep. It has also been used to improve mental health and used in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and other conflicts. Overall, those who practice mindfulness are more satisfied with life and worry less about the future, regrets, success, and self-esteem, allowing them to form better relationships with others.

Why It’s Great for Business

Several companies are already reaping the benefits that mindfulness practices have to offer. Aetna, Intel, Keurig Green Mountain, and Target are just a few of the companies that have started to incorporate mindfulness as a leadership practice and have seen improvements in employee health, productivity, and job satisfaction.

One of the most notable studies was done as a partnership between Aetna, American Viniyoga, and eMindful, and it began with a pilot of 239 employees. After 12 weeks the participants reported a significant stress reduction. Now, with over 12,500 of the 50.000 employees involved in the study having participated in at least one mindfulness class, researchers have found that there has also been an improvement in sleep quality and reduction in pain as well. The two most surprising findings were that on average, each employee gained 62 minutes of productivity per week and that their health care costs were an average of $2,000 lower than their counterparts.

How You Can Implement It

What makes mindfulness incredible is that it can be performed at any time of the day and can be done with just a few minutes a time. Mindfulness can be practiced throughout your day from the moment you wake up in the morning to right before you fall asleep at night.

When you wake in the morning, spend just two minutes before getting up out of bed to focus on your breathing. Let go of any thoughts that may enter your head and simply focus on your body inhaling and exhaling. You can continue to take just a few minutes throughout your day to repeat this, directing all your thoughts to each breath you take, helping you find focus and obtain awareness. Think about doing this in the few minutes in your car before you head to work, at your desk right when you arrive, after lunch, or right before or after a meeting. These little moments will increase your overall effectiveness throughout the day.

Mindfulness practices can help to remove unnecessary distractions, allowing you to stay on track with your goals for the day. When it comes to implementing mindfulness practices in your business, be sure to ask yourself what benefits you hope mindfulness will bring to your work. Is it to minimize distractions? Maximize productivity? It could even be stress relief or increased prioritization strategies. However you decide to implement mindfulness into your professional development routine, you can be sure that the results will be worth the practice.

How do you think mindfulness could play a positive role in your life and business?

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