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“The very first change I noticed after some mindfulness practice is how I became less anxious and stressed during my commute to work. I would be in heavy traffic and without gripping the steering wheel harder or constantly checking the time, I noticed myself observing my surroundings. I even felt kinda excited to get to work. That’s NEVER happened to me.”
This is an experience one of our interns shared over lunch recently, a few months after being introduced to the mindfulness-rich culture at our workplace.
As a company that practises what we fondly refer to as a mindfulness-first culture, this was certainly gratifying to hear as a leader! I’ve found that now more than ever, companies have the opportunity to inspire their employees so that work is an exciting and fulfilling part of their lives.
We live in a fast-paced society, ripe with perpetual change, lifestyle demands, and stress. While this type of lifestyle can be stimulating and exciting, it can also be exhausting, draining, and unhealthy. To turn these negative effects around, companies around the world are now incorporating mindfulness into company culture.
The proven benefits of corporate mindfulness
One of the proven benefits of mindfulness is its ability to lessen anxiety. Work can often be demanding and this can have adverse effects on our mental health. The more challenges we face and the busier we get, we are more prone to developing anxiety and stress. This makes corporate mindfulness one of the best ways to curb the effects of work-related stress and anxiety.
Another benefit of corporate mindfulness is increased focus and concentration. At its core, mindfulness is about being present. Often a cause of anxiety and stress, distractions can hinder workflow and make us feel frustrated. Research suggests that corporate mindfulness can improve focus and attention while helping us be more in control of distractions.
One of the more interesting benefits of practising mindfulness regularly has to do with setting and sticking to personal goals. Research suggests that those who practise mindfulness regularly have a greater sense of autonomy, which, in turn, leads to more effective goal-setting and attainment. This may also be an added advantage of being able to focus better and cut down on distractions!
Mindfulness and leadership also have an interesting connection. Mindfulness can facilitate and harness three qualities important to leadership: Metacognition - the ability to observe and monitor your thoughts and feelings - the ability to accept the present in a balanced, realistic way, and curiosity - the trait of taking an enthusiastic interest in the world and the people around you.
How can you leverage the benefits of corporate mindfulness?
One of the biggest pitfalls of corporate mindfulness programs is that they tend to be one-time events. The age-old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is applicable to corporate mindfulness because regular mindfulness practice is the way to becoming proficient, which, in turn, leads to the true benefits of mindfulness.
For corporate mindfulness to be successful, it must be implemented throughout the company. Asking others to do something you’re not doing yourself only promotes inauthentic behaviour. So, first, be what you ask others to be.
When there’s clarity in terms of the value of corporate mindfulness, it is certainly reflected within leadership. The best way to approach corporate mindfulness is to look at it as a need and not a demand.
Integrate corporate mindfulness into your company culture
Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years. The interest in incorporating mindfulness in the workplace increased only recently, however, with research proving the benefits of corporate mindfulness programs.
Awakened Mind is a resource that fosters corporate mindfulness in the workplace. With the creation of a curated and structured mindfulness app, it is our goal and mission to help companies implement corporate mindfulness strategies that work.