These days, everyone is talking about mindfulness, and with good reason (Google the word and more than 23 million results come up). Over the past several years, numerous studies have been done on the positive impacts of mindfulness—meditation, in particular—on the brain and companies are catching on.
Speaking of Google, it’s been more than 10 years since the company started mindfulness training for executives, and in 2012 launched the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (now simply called SIYLI). Other companies now have “meditation breaks” and sometimes even bring in meditation teachers a few times per month.
Have you yet to jump on the mindfulness train? Fear not. Being mindful is accessible to anyone at any company and at any time. You don’t need to sit quietly in a dimly lit room in the lotus position with essential oils gurgling in a diffuser close by. You don’t need an expensive membership to a nearby yoga studio and you don’t need to fly to Bali to participate in a silent retreat for a few weeks.
While, yes, all of those things would be nice (Bali, anyone?), they are far from necessary.
If you want to start embracing mindfulness, try downloading a meditation app and meditating (sitting quietly with your eyes closed) for two minutes, then open your eyes. It’s as easy as that.
A few great apps include Calm, Insight Timer and Headspace. Increase your meditation duration to three minutes, then five, then 10 and so on. If you’d rather not meditate, go out in nature without your phone or any other digital devices. Just sit and watch as the birds chirp, the caterpillars crawl and the sun blend in with the horizon. All of these activities can be considered mindfulness.
Beyond making people happier and more relaxed, mindfulness also increases productivity in the workplace. How, you ask?
Learn how to increase mindfulness and boost productivity by following these five practices:
1. Mindfulness allows you to let things go
Remember that Tuesday afternoon meeting that you cannot stand? And the co-worker who likes to talk over you at every possible opportunity? Practicing mindfulness helps you let handle historically triggering situations in relaxed and calm ways so you can focus on the tasks at hand. This redirection of energy and attention helps with productivity.
2. Mindfulness increases your attention span
You’ve been dreading an upcoming conference where you will be forced to sit through several long lectures on topics you care very little about. Mindfulness can help you with this. Meditation, in particular, is really a practice in our raising attention spans. If we can sit quietly and clear our minds for two minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes (ok, that’s after a lot of practice), our attention will be more keen in other life situations—like when sitting in an otherwise boring seminar.
3. Mindfulness helps filter responsibilities
Are you an employee or business owner who takes on every possible task and tries to get it done immediately? And then feels burnt out in less than five minutes? Don’t worry—you aren’t alone. These feelings and actions are super common, and mindfulness can help. Committing to a regular mindfulness practice allows clarity to creep into our thoughts and helps us say no to things that don’t serve us (like that extra project you don’t have time to complete) and yes to things that really light us up in our careers.
4. Mindfulness keeps us healthy
Have you ever noticed that during the times you are busiest with work—the moments you aren’t sleeping well and are stressed to the max—you get the sickest? This is no coincidence. When mind and body are disconnected, illness can easily befall us. Thankfully, there is a solution: mindfulness! A frequent practice can help boost our immune systems, making us more perky and happy at work, and keeping our attendance in the office high (along with our productivity).
5. Mindfulness enables creativity
By helping eliminate mental clutter (or at least decrease it a bit), mindfulness can open us to more creative thoughts and ideas inside and outside of the office. Have you ever felt creatively stifled in a project, so much so that you wanted to throw up your arms and call it a day? This is a common experience and something that can be avoided through a mindfulness practice.
Now join the conversation! How does a mindfulness practice help you at work?
Nicole is the Marketing Communications Manager for Nextiva is passionate about our incredible growth, company culture, and promise of Amazing Service. Outside of marketing, Nicole enjoys cooking easy and healthy recipes, taking care of the office plants, and hanging out with her cat. To get in touch, follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.