5 reasons being mindful makes you better at work
Can mindfulness work for you? Have you ever find yourself contemplating about learning to become mindful? Or are you still on the fence, waiting for more research papers to be published and more people to practice mindfulness before considering being part of the mindful group? Or are you simply wondering what the term mindfulness is?
Gone are the days when mindfulness is an esoteric term that stems from eastern spiritual practice. Big names like Apple, Google, Nike and HBO are spearheading the effort to promote mindfulness to their employees¹.
Mindfulness means to be fully in the “here and now”.
It means becoming aware of our environment and our internal thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
It means taking a step back to view things with better clarity and non-judgment.
It means making better decisions at the point of time.
Are you thinking, “Basically, you mean to say yoga, meditation, mind-body and/or mindfulness class can help us to become a better version of ourselves?”
Yes, it can!
You already know how mindfulness can help us to lose weight. So now, we are going to discuss 5 ways being mindful can help us at work.
5. Reduce stress
The deadlines, rushing from places to places, traffic jams, pressure from the management. How often do our minds fleet from one to-do to the next task in hand? No wonder so many of us are under constant stress.
By being in the moment, you reduce the tendency of your mind to go back into the past and the future.
Thinking about the past might induce regrets. Thinking about the future might increase the tendency of worries. And projecting pass failures or gloomy scenarios on future uncertainties might cause fear.
When you are mindful of the moment, you become aware of the challenges ahead without allow yourself to become overwhelm by it.
4. Manage your emotions better
Ever feel angry with an unreasonable request in work? Ever feel wrongly accused? As human, we have a lot of thoughts and emotion, for example, fear, regrets, worries and anxiety.
Sometimes, we allow these strong emotions to control our thoughts, which then in turn will control us. Then, we automatically follow them such pattern as it becomes our habitual reactive patterns.
With mindfulness, we start to become aware of such emotions and thoughts. While such emotions and thoughts are our natural processes, we can learn to choose to not be affected by it.
Over time, we will build up a higher level of tolerance for unpleasant emotions and thoughts. We will no longer be controlled by our thoughts and emotions but are instead able to use them as information in an objective manner and respond to the situation in hand.
3. Build better social relationships
In any workplace, we will have to deal with people, be it colleagues, supervisors, vendors or customers. Sometimes miscommunication might arise. Other time, anger, pride and politics can come in between the cohesion of people. In business, people and relationship play a vital role.
The practice of mindfulness increases our empathy and compassion towards others through growing our own source of inner joy. Like a cup brimming with water, when you have so much joy in yourself, it cannot be helped but to overflow to others.
Being present and paying full attention in conversations make the other party feel appreciated, thus creating a mutual positive relationship.
2. Increase your productivity
Nowadays people have a full list of to do list. Work can never end and time always seems to be insufficient. I’m a freelancer (also playing many roles of part-timers to make ends meet). So I know how social media and procrastination could affect the output of my workload and the amount of money I earn. Time management is a tool that I have to learn fast.
Fifteen minutes of social media time quickly escalate to one hour if we are not aware. Forget multi-tasking, they are alright for low-attention jobs. However, if your task at hand requires high-attention, you need to learn to focus and grind at it in scheduled block of time.
Mindfulness practices require us to focus on one thing at a thing. This practice could be effectively transfer to our work. See your productivity level increase after you apply mindfulness work habits.
1. Improve your well-being
Sick days are costly to the company. The company has to pay in term of wages to the sick employees, replacement workers, reduce productivity and possible reduce morale in other workers. As a valuable employee of the company, you want to minimise such hidden costs to your employer.
It is known that our mind and body are connected. When our minds are unwell, it will manifest in our bodies. Or if we are upset constantly, our work will be affected. Mindfulness has been recorded to enhance our well-being.
One way of putting it is that the practice of mindfulness restores ourselves to our wholeness. As they say, a happy worker is a productive worker.
¹1 February 2012. 10 Big Companies That Promote Employee Meditation. onlineMBA.
21 December 2012. Gill Crossland-Thackray. Mindfulness at work: what are the benefits?. theguardian.
May 2009. Alberto Chiesa and Alessandro Serretti. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Stress Management in Healthy People: A Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
A.D. Amar, Vlatka Hlupic, Tanmika Tamwatin. Effect of meditation on self-perception of leadership skills: A control group of CEOs. Academy of Management Proceedings.
Jochen Matthias, Jayanth Narayanan, Sankalp Chaturvedi. Leading Mindfully: Two Studies of the Influence of Supervisor Trait Mindfulness on Employee Well-Being and Performance. Research collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business.
- Shauna L. Shapiro, Linda E. Carlson, John A. Astin, Benedict Freedman. Mechanisms of Mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology.