When we hear the word, mindfulness, the first thing we relate to it is mindfulness meditation. But mindfulness is more than Buddhist mindfulness meditation. It is a way of life.
So, how do you define mindfulness and can we learn how to be mindful leaders? According to the Institute for Mindful Leadership, a mindful leader is someone who embodies leadership presence by cultivating focus, clarity, creativity and compassion in the service of others.
The most common mindfulness definition encompasses mindfulness exercises such as slowing down or sitting still and watching the breath go in and out.
According to mindfulness basics, practising mindfulness involves bringing your awareness back to the present every time you find yourself worrying about the future or ruminating about the past.
Mindfulness can be cultivated by shifting your attention from being caught up in thinking of the past or the future to the present moment or simply becoming aware of what you are doing in the present moment.
There are a number of scientific and evidence-based practices that have demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace. Meditation and business success are interlinked and companies are investing huge sums in mindfulness programs for employees.
Meditation and productivity are also connected. Just sitting still and practising a 10-minute guided mindfulness meditation every day, can improve your productivity and well-being significantly.
But the best way to practice mindfulness is throughout the day as mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful reading, mindful leadership, and mindfulness at work.
10 Benefits Of Mindfulness In The Workplace
Want to be a more mindful leader? Learn the 10 benefits of mindfulness in the workplace and how mindful leadership can make you a better leader.
1. Mindfulness helps us make better decisions
Making the right decisions is important to us in every area of life, including work. It is essential to our productivity that we are able to make decisions objectively and without being prejudiced by our conditioning or emotional state.
Mindfulness activities can help us become free from past conditioning so we can make rational decisions based on logic rather than emotions that threaten to overpower the mind. When you learn the art of mindfulness, you gain better control over your emotions.
2. Mindfulness improves emotional regulation
According to this article, one of the most important ways that mindfulness can help us at work and in our lives is through emotional self-regulation. In the workplace, the ability to self-regulate our emotions helps us make more rational decisions, deal with stressors and respond to irritation, conflict and stress in a more mature fashion.
Good emotional regulation helps build trust, rapport, and is an essential leadership skill, as losing control of one’s emotions in the workplace can be seen as a weakness. Managers and leaders who have low emotional intelligence and trouble with emotional self-regulation will inevitably find it hard to lead or motivate teams.
Mindfulness can teach us how to recognize and control our emotional responses by becoming the observer, so we can detach and objectively observe how we respond to our colleagues and to stressors at work.
3. Mindfulness improves communication
Another important attribute of a mindful leader is effective communication, especially when the person is under stress. If you can enhance your communication skills, you’ll experience greater success on both professional and personal fronts.
Mindfulness boosts empathy and compassion, which makes for better relationships, both at home and in the workplace.
Practising mindfulness at work helps develop mental clarity and allows us to easily express ourselves with our colleagues, a quality that is highly desirable in the workplace.
4. Mindfulness can improve the quality of your work
The most noticeable way in which mindfulness meditation and work productivity are linked is by helping us improve the quality of our work.
The foundation of this training is awareness training, in which we make the effort to move on from our attachment of thinking and observe what we’re doing at present.
The research has shown that mindfulness training exercises can improve our ability to direct our attention better and therefore, be less distracted, thus helping us complete our tasks effectively and efficiently.
5. Mindfulness boosts creativity
There is a clear connection between mindfulness and creativity. As the Harvard Business Review notes, Steve Jobs, a regular meditator, made use of mindfulness practice to challenge operating assumptions at Apple and to enhance creative insight in planning.
Non-meditators show greater cognitive rigidity than regular meditators. People with mindfulness skills have a tendency to apply difficult or outdated solutions to easy problems based on experience, says the HBR article.
All of us have the ability to be creative, but lose it when we work under pressure or multitask. Mindfulness-based meditation quiets the mind and a quiet mind has more room for new and better ideas.
When we practice mindfulness it creates a growth mindset and opens our minds to new ideas, which help us find creative solutions to whatever problems we’re trying to find solutions for. So, sit down, relax, open up and be mindful. Better ideas will follow naturally.
6. Mindfulness helps manage stress
A positive attitude is a key to being a mindful leader. It is very easy to get bogged down by stress or anxiety, however, and mindfulness teaches us not to get attached to our thoughts because they are not reality.
Scientific research has found a negative correlation between mindfulness and stress following a mindfulness-based intervention, resulting in an improvement in psychological well-being.
Mindfulness skills can keep us from getting stuck in a loop of negative thoughts, freeing up the energy we need to be productive.
Those who practice mindfulness regularly are less prone to feeling stress or anxiety. Rather than focusing on the negative consequences of feeling stressed, mindfulness stress reduction allows us the space to think differently about the stress itself.
Doing a mindfulness workshop will help you use the principles of mindfulness and stress reduction to draw upon your inner resources for greater health, balance, and peace of mind.
7. Mindfulness helps us strategise better
We cannot deny the biases wired into our brains that often lead us to make less than optimal decisions. Mindfulness in the workplace helps us develop the refined levels of self-awareness necessary to see our biases objectively before they influence our decisions.
Mindfulness meditation teachers can teach you to notice how your mind reacts to thoughts, sensations, and information, seeing past the old storylines and habitual patterns that unconsciously guide our behaviour.
Developing mindfulness helps us get clarity on what actually matters, keeps us grounded in the present and prevents us from becoming overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. The more our priorities are clear to us, the better we’ll be able to strategise.
When we have a good strategic plan, it needs separation from our reactive responses. This is where mindfulness meditation activities play a key role in making strategising easier and more effective, which ultimately leads to business success.
8. Mindfulness helps improve focus
How do mindfulness and the brain complement each other? When we start to meditate, there are changes that take place in our brain.
Everyday mindfulness exercises can train our brain to increase its focus and concentration span because each time we observe our mind wandering off from whatever we are trying to focus on, we can intentionally bring our awareness back to it.
Mindfulness courses can also help us take control of what we think about, it enables more space to learn new things, and increase long-term memory. Experiments have demonstrated how meditation leads to greater attention spans.
9. Mindfulness improves your quality of sleep
Your quality of sleep has a direct impact on how you perform at your workplace. Mindfulness meditation has been effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, and some psychological disorders. Meditation for sleep is one of the best all-natural ways to treat insomnia.
Research shows that those who meditate regularly experience steady improvements in sleep quality and sleep duration. Your meditation practice can treat insomnia by decreasing arousal in the brain with no associated risks or side-effects.
10. Mindfulness boosts resilience skills
The article here mentions how burnout is amplified by the inability to manage stress. As some amount of stress is inevitable in the workplace, the solution to dealing with burnout is to build mental and emotional resilience skills into our work habits to deal with inevitable stressors.
A mindful leader needs to deal with stress in a healthy way and practising mindfulness can help you boost your resilience so you can bounce back from stressful situations quickly.
As a mindful leader, you can help your employees incorporate mindfulness practices into their daily life so they can learn resilience skills to deal with stress and keep burnout at bay.
Mindfulness isn’t about fixing or stopping your thoughts. It doesn’t even mean you need to run away from reality. It simply means being aware of the current moment, and not drifting into past regrets or worries of the future.
You can learn mindfulness techniques with free mindfulness training courses. A few minutes of mindfulness meditation practise every day can help you become more productive and make you a more mindful leader.
Do you practice mindfulness meditation? Have you seen changes or improvements in any area of life – health, work or relationships? Do share with us in the comments below.
Jais is a Lifestyle blogger and a passionate practitioner of yoga and meditation. She’s a creative-writer, confident, Nature Lover, Animal Lover, an observer, a traveller on the path to self-discovery. Focused on Raising Happiness level and simplifying life. Love to Live. Live to Love. She blogs at Get Set Happy.
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