Do you find yourself reacting emotionally during business meetings or in response to your workload? Do you find that you’re easily distracted during work-related tasks, or that your mind incessantly wanders? This blog brings to light some of the findings of how mindfulness can benefit you while at work, and potentially benefit your employer as well.
We spoke with Jane, who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over thirty years. She was introduced to the practice of meditation through her local yoga studio and while she found it to be beneficial in managing her anxiety, she found it challenging to develop a consistent, ongoing practice. In 2014, she enrolled in our Mindfulness-based Stress Management program as a way to support and continue to develop her personal practice. Jane shared how mindfulness has made a difference in her work life. “At work I am more patient and less reactive. My company is a very fast-paced, reactive culture and it’s easy to get caught up in that reactivity. With mindfulness I can stop, take a few breaths, and when I’m dealing with a challenge or a decision that needs to be made, I find that mindfulness creates a space for me to consider more options, and better solutions to problems.” Hear more about how Jane brings mindfulness into her work life.
Jane also shared her personal experience of how mindfulness has helped in her approach to leadership. “I believe it has helped me to become a more thoughtful, considerate and compassionate leader, especially when it comes to problem solving and decision making. In the past, I would make decisions very quickly and reactively, then move onto the next challenge. Now, I take a breath, close my eyes, and sit with a particular problem for a while. Eventually it helps me to consider other options and potential impacts of my decisions.”
In an analysis of mindfulness worksite programs reviewed by researchers from Case Western Reserve University, mindfulness was found to be linked to better functioning among individuals, including in the areas of attention (e.g. less mind wandering and distractibility and shorter processing time), cognition (e.g. increased working memory capacity and more flexible thinking) and emotionality (e.g. reduced intensity and duration). These areas of improved functioning among individuals subsequently impact workplace outcomes such as improved performance, relationships, and work-related well-being.
In his own review of published academic papers and popular press articles, Theo Winter summarized benefits he found among particular worksites, some of which include reductions in employee reported stress, improved productivity and corporate cost reductions.
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