The workplace can be a fast-paced, stressful environment. Is it possible to thrive in the work environment? The key may lie with mindfulness – gently noticing what is going on for us, in the present moment, without passing judgment. Workplace mindfulness is the degree to which individuals are mindful in their work setting. The definition of mindfulness is “a receptive attention to and awareness of present-moment events and experiences”.
Mindfulness can be described by using three elements.
- Present-focused consciousness: not worrying about the past or future – simply “being” in the here and now.
- Paying close attention: this involves both internal and external environments.
- Being open and accepting: no judgement, just a matter of accepting what is happening without a stressed response.
Mindfulness involves noticing what is happening without evaluating, analyzing, or reflecting upon it – it is therefore said that mindful information processing is ‘pre-conceptual’. Thus, a mindful employee will take in what is happening in the workplace and not react to it, rather, simply taking in information from their surrounds. They will non-judgmentally approach their work and their relations with other colleagues and management.
Benefits of Mindfulness in the workplace:
- Helps to build resilience: Practicing mindfulness techniques (such as meditation) can decrease the effects of anxiety and stress. It has the potential to enhance your sense of resilience and ability to perform under stress.
- Strengthens emotional intelligence: Being mindful helps to improve levels of patience and the ability to regulate emotions. Having an inner sense of calm makes it easier to cope when things don’t go our way.
- Promotes Creativity: Being relaxed and chilled out because of practicing mindfulness means that we are also giving ourselves the opportunity to be more creative. Empirical research suggests that mindfulness enables greater insights and more out-of-the-box thinking.
- Enhances Public Relationships: All that stress, anxiety, anger, and distraction apparent in the non-mindful workplace makes for strained interpersonal relationships. Practicing mindful techniques makes us more tolerant and compassionate with a more positive impact on the personal connections between colleagues.
- Helps to Focus: Studies have shown that mindfulness with its emphasis on the present helps us to stay more focused and improves our ability to concentrate.