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Practicing Mindfulness Technique At Work

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Louise Brace, content writer at Happy Melly, talks about the mindfulness technique at work in her blog. Mindfulness is a stress reduction training which was founded in the United States back in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic. Mindfulness is all about living in the present, achieving focus and clarity in our daily lives.

Louise mentions companies spend a lot of money every year to mitigate the stress related problems of employees.

Well for starters, it can save companies a lot of money. The American Institute of Stress calculated a staggering $300bn spent every year covering absenteeism, poor performance, employee turnover, accidents and stress-related workers compensation claims. And the problem is not limited to the US, in the UK an estimated 11 million pounds is lost each year on work-related stress, depression and anxiety cases. And I am sure if I look further, I’ll find the same problem in most first world countries.

As per the Guardian blog, Mindfulness expert Mirabai Bush, famous for introducing it to Google, says:

Introducing mindfulness into the workplace does not prevent conflict from arising or difficult issues from coming up. But when difficult issues do arise... they are more likely to be skillfully acknowledged, held, and responded to by the group. Over time, with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying, and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.

As per Forbes, a number of well-known companies have implemented mindfulness programs for its employees. For example:

  • Apple
  • Google
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Astra Zeneca
  • General Mills
  • Aetna

The mindfulness at work organization breaks it down into three areas as per Louise:

1. Thinking: Mindfulness helps to build teamwork, sparks creativity and innovation, and improves communication channels between peers and managers.

2. Doing: Mindfulness training in the workplace, supports our need to solve problems, to be more productive and creative. It also supports a harmonious, yet competitive team environment, whose common goal is success. Happy people are more engaged and motivated; this creates an immense value for organizations, less expenditure on poor health and sickness, and more revenue generated through increased productivity.

3. Being: When you adopt mindfulness, you will experience greater clarity of thought, which leads to improved creativity and greater emotional strength. We also learn to cooperate more effectively with co-workers and this stops the feeling of powerlessness.

Louise suggests asking employees to give themselves feedback on questions, such as:

  • What did I do today to improve communication with my manager and peers?
  • What actions did I take today to learn and grow?
  • Whom did I thank today, and who recognized me?
  • Was I mindful today of our company’s long-term goals?
  • How engaged was I at work today?
  • And your question to yourself might be: What did I do today to improve communication with my team?

David Brendel, executive and personal coach, in his blog, mentions following risks of mindfulness at work:

The avoidance risk - Some people use mindfulness strategies to avoid critical thinking tasks.

The groupthink risk - Mindfulness is rooted in a philosophy and psychology of self-efficacy and proactive self-care. Imposing it on people in a top-down manner degrades the practice and the people who might benefit from using it of their own volition.

There is no denying that mindfulness has emerged as a major cultural phenomenon on the contemporary American scene and in the business world in particular. That can be good news for people dealing with stress, burnout, and other realities of the modern workplace. But mindfulness practices need to be incorporated as one among many self-chosen strategies for people aiming to cope with stress, think effectively, make sound decisions, and achieve fulfillment. Mindfulness practices should be used to enhance our rational and ethical thinking processes, not limit or displace them. And mindfulness practices should never be imposed on other people, especially in the workplace.

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