What is Mindfulness?
According to Daniel J. Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, “mindfulness” is about being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences and no longer being on automatic. He explains that with mindful awareness the flow of energy and information that is our mind enters our conscious attention and we can both appreciate its contents and come to regulate its flow in a new way. Reflecting on the mind enables us to make better choices and change becomes possible.
Mindfulness in the Workplace
Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly important in the age of technology. Everyday we are overwhelmed with texts, emails, chat messages, phone calls, social media notifications, and advertisements on top of us already trying to juggle work loads with family life. The following benefits of mindfulness not only increase productivity at work, but they can also help support the need for work-life balance:
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Improved mood and emotion regulation
- Improved brain function, awareness, attention and focus
- Increased clarity in thinking and perception
- Increased immune function and ability to deal with illness
How to Promote Mindfulness in the Workplace
Here are a few tips from the Forbes Coaches Council on promoting mindfulness in the workplace!
- Lead By Example. Asking of others what you don’t yet have yourself only promotes inauthentic behavior. A lack of mindfulness in your organization, division or team is a direct expression of your own lack of value clarity. Mindfulness does not demand or desire. Mindfulness allows, and through its acceptance, it attracts others to value and practice. – Jay Steven Levin, WinThinking
- Start A Conversation About Mindfulness. Mindfulness can be confusing and intimidating to the uninformed. Starting a conversation about mindfulness in the workplace not only shows you support the idea, but it also allows team members to reveal the techniques that work best for them and it can help those struggling with the concept to better understand mindfulness. – David Galowich, Terra Firma Leadership LLC
- Allow Gap Time Between Meetings. Back-to-back meetings make employees race from one meeting to the next without taking a moment to breathe or even process what went on in the meeting. Back-to-back meetings also lead to employees being late to the next meeting or they just check out of their prior meeting early, mentally or physically. Allowing time between meetings, even if it is five to ten minutes, increases focus, productivity and well-being for everyone. – Christine Allen, Ph.D, Insight Business Works
- Ask Challenging Questions and Give Time to Think. Leader that want to inspire their team to think bigger should ask them challenging questions that call on them to act and think. Consider asking a question at the beginning of each week, something along the lines of “how to improve the company and the organization.” Give them the week to think about it and watch the ideas, suggestions and comments lead to productivity, engagement and breakthroughs. – Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience
For more tips on promoting mindfulness in the workplace, visit Forbes!