Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment. An ancient practice that has recently been embraced by Western psychology and is now finding its way into the workplace. Mindfulness can be found in a wide range of Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism, Taoism and Yoga. But what is it? I recently attended a mindfulness workshop to find out and here is what I learned.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has many definitions but at its core, mindfulness is awareness. It is a practice that involves paying focused attention, on purpose, without judgement, to the experience of the present moment. Ok, that may sound easy, but mindfulness is harder than it sounds. To remain truly in the moment, try focusing on only your breath or looking at your hand for two minutes without your mind wandering. In our fast paced and overstimulated world, it is difficult to do. However, the good news is with practice anyone can do it.
Mindfulness “de-programs” the multitasking tendencies that have become commonplace. Mindfulness helps us become more productive by directing our focus to the most critical task at hand. When we, as individuals, intentionally focus with full attention, the result is higher quality interactions and more informed decisions. In addition, it helps us to concentrate and focus, can reduce anxiety and stress and help to contribute to a more peaceful environment. Furthermore, employers who model and promote mindful practices in their workplace, create an environment of engagement and acceptance where creativity and innovation thrive.
In today’s fast paced work environment of speed and goal attainment, mindfulness is increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, improve memory, increase self-awareness and enhance emotional intelligence and creativity. Employers are more and more encouraging and promoting mindfulness to their employees to assist in positive changes such as improvements in working relationships, better concentration, more attention to detail, and a calmer atmosphere in general.
Here are a couple of tips on how you can start to practice mindfulness:
- Put your phone on silent, and turn the screen away from you
- Make sure you are in a quiet place without loud noise
- Be aware of your breathing
- Take one thought and concentrate on that and only that thought
- If you mind starts wandering, clear it, take a breath and start again….remember it will get easier with time.
The next time you see a colleague sitting quietly who appears to be doing nothing other than thinking, don’t judge them. They may well just be practising mindfulness. And maybe slow down and join them…
Work places and approaches to work are changing constantly. Incorporating practices and approaches that may not be “traditional” work place methods can often bring positive changes in attitudes and approaches to how your staff go about their daily tasks. Moreover, if you would like advice on how you can change or incorporate change into your work environment, contact HR Central today 1300 717 721