Distractions are abounding and it affects the way we work – at home and at the office. A large number of people have trouble concentrating and this is where mindfulness comes in.
A form of meditation, mindfulness helps you develop stronger concentration powers. Large corporate companies such as Apple, Google and Starbucks amongst others offer training in mindfulness for their employees.
Forbes talks about this notion and shares how it can help boost your career.
So…what is mindfulness?
A simple yet effective form of meditation, mindfulness makes you more focused, helping you to gain control over unruly thoughts. It is therefore a great way to reduce daily stress as it gives you control over your thoughts and prevents pondering on negative ones. It makes you calm and allows you to go through the day in a productive manner. Ellen Langer, a psychologist at the Harvard University says, “Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement.” She adds that the “mindless negative evaluations” that people make and the presumptions about problems they won’t be able to solve is what makes their day stressful.
Mindfulness and its importance in the workplace
Though there are many benefits of mindfulness, the main reason so many companies are banking on it is its ability to directly improve performance. The many studies which Langer has conducted in this regard have been accurate. Here are five other reasons why companies are focussed on mindfulness:
1. It relieves stress. Stress not only affects your performance but also your personality. Forbes explains “…it’s a people killer”. According to a research conducted by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of healthcare expense is due to stress and two-thirds of hospital visits are for the same reason. Stress can increase your blood pressure, lead to cancer, insomnia, heart disease, anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases and so on. Mindfulness makes you calm and takes you out of the stress mode.
2. It helps you concentrate. Mindfulness teaches you to focus on one thing at a time and this impacts everything you do. It teaches you to avoid distractions and complete one task at a time. Though we have all been subjected to multitasking, it is in fact a productivity killing practice and mindfulness lets you overcome this.
3. It makes you more creative. Creativity will depend on your mental state. Thus, when you are rid of negative thoughts and can focus, you are more likely to be creative. You can defeat the thoughts which cover up your creative skills. You can think creatively and freely because mindfulness lets you concentrate on the present.
4. It helps improve EQ. Something which cannot be perceived easily, emotional intelligence or EQ affects the way we behave, our social bonds, interactions and the decisions we make. It is your ability to understand emotions and use this knowledge to deal with relationships. Years of research have revealed that EQ is what sets star performers apart from mediocre ones. Forbes conducted studies at its workplace and found that the top performers were also high on EQ.
5. It makes you a better person. A study by the Harvard University revealed that there was in fact a link between ‘mindfulness and prosaical behaviour’. Those who practice meditation are 50% more likely to be compassionate towards others as compared to those who don’t.