Steve Jobs practised mindfulness. Even companies such as Google, Nike and General Mills are offering mindfulness training to its employees. What is the link between mindfulness and workplace performance?
Mindfulness is a trendy word in leadership development nowadays. Recent articles in the Harvard Business Review mention that spending 10 minutes a day cultivating mindfulness changes the way leaders respond to situations. In the long term, a regular practice of mindfulness can help to build resilience, collaboration and better leadership in complex situations.
Mindfulness is to be attentive to our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and the environment around us. Allow and accept what is happening during your mindfulness practice. Press the pause button on judging ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. In the workplace, mindfulness facilitates better decision making as it trains the brain to move away from a knee-jerk reaction to a more thoughtful response.
Ready for a 30-day mindfulness challenge? Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate ten minutes of mindfulness into your daily routine.
Breathe Consciously: Take long inhalations and long exhalations. Be attentive to each breath and how your body feels. Picture yourself as an observant outsider and allow the sensations and thoughts to pass.
Walk Meditatively: Walking pilgrimages such as the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Mount Kailash in Tibet and the 88 temple trail in Shikoku, Japan has existed for thousands of years. These destinations are rising in popularity. More and more travellers seek out a walking holiday to unplug from their wired lives and plug into themselves. When you walk, pay attention to each motion of your body. How does your body feel? What is your mood? How does your mood affect your posture?
Eat Slowly: Use your senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste as you slowly eat a raisin. Feel the raisin in your hand. Look at the raisin closely. Inhale the smell of the raisin. Chew slowly. Hear the sounds as you eat. Taste the flavour of the raisin. This raisin exercise is used in the pioneering Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program and can be done at regular mealtimes with other types of food as well.
Stop Multi-tasking: Multi-tasking harms your brain and workplace performance, suggests a study by Stanford University researchers. Stop talking on the phone, reading your email and texting on your phone at the same time. Reduce distractions by switching off the notifications on your phones. Your mind will thank you for completing one task before moving onto the next.
Colour Non-judgmentally: To unwind after a stressful day at work, take out your colour pencils out and colour. Enjoy the simple pleasure of filling out a page with colour and withhold judgement. The repetitive nature of colouring actually aids relaxation. During colouring, brain waves changed from beta (a state where the brain is actively thinking) to alpha (a state of relaxation). This effect is also seen in meditating monks, whose brains produce alpha waves during meditation.
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Photo provided by DaPrayer