Ah, mindfulness! No doubt, feelings and opinions are conjured by the word. It is not uncommon to hear mindfulness has no place in the professional world. Yet, in recent years businesses such as Bank of America, Aetna, Salesforce, Google, Goldman Sachs Group, and many others have begun to embrace it and support mindfulness practices amongst their employees.1 Embracing mindfulness has been a response to recognizing the importance of supporting mental health in the workplace.
The practice of mindfulness may seem like a new concept with recent growth in popularity. However, concepts associated with it have been practiced for thousands of years. Today, mindfulness has been embraced and championed as a practice with a myriad of empirically proven and anecdotal benefits, such as equipping us with the skills to understand, acknowledge, and process our feelings and emotions.2 But how can supporting mindfulness be beneficial to your business? That is a question we can answer. But first, let’s get clear on what mindfulness is.
What is mindfulness?
The term “mindfulness” is used to refer to both physical and mental experiences. The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as “a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, a mode of processing information, and a character trait.”
At its root, being in a state of mindfulness means that the individual is more focused, present, and dialed into the moment as opposed to being stuck in their head, disengaged, and distracted. From a mental health perspective, mindfulness practices equip us with the skills to understand, acknowledge, and process our feelings and emotions, all helpful in the workplace as well.
Why is mindfulness relevant to the workplace?
Research shows mindfulness “promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination via disengagement from perseverative cognitive activities, and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory.”3 These proven benefits can help with emotion-regulation strategies that enable higher employee productivity.
Additional crucial benefits for businesses include stress reduction and increased focus. In 2020, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June of 2019.4 We know that remote work, social isolation, and lockdowns contributed greatly to these statistics.
Mindfulness practices are proven to significantly decrease levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in individuals and increase the ability to concentrate on complex subjects or tasks by improving cognition.5 The businesses that support mindfulness amongst their employees understand that employee retention today is not just about a hybrid or remote schedule, the number of paid vacation days, or even salary. Employees are looking for companies that not only support their financial and professional development but for employers who also support their mental and physical wellbeing. By doing this, employers can experience higher levels of employee retention.6
How to bring mindfulness to the workplace
While companies such as Calm and Headspace provide enterprise subscription models, their services only go so far. As the APA states, mindfulness is more than a practice; it is a state of being achieved through consistent effort. To achieve a state of mindfulness and experience its benefits, guided training and educational programs are much more effective than listening to an app on your own. With training and educational programs, your employees can learn proven methods of achieving mindfulness and understand how to apply them personally and professionally.
The Judge Group takes mindfulness practice seriously. Our CEO asked our learning experts how we may combat rising employee stress as a result of the pandemic. To meet this ask, our resident, trained mindfulness experts created a blended Mindfulness program designed to help reduce stress and anxiety, and increase productivity, concentration, empathy, optimism, and self-confidence among employees. We saw such a tremendous benefit to our employees that we are extending our mindfulness training to other businesses looking to support their employees’ mental and physical health.
Learn more about our blended mindfulness program designed by trained mindfulness practitioners here.
Bring mindfulness to your workplace by contacting a learning specialist today.
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