Barriers to entry for a startup continues to go down due to technological advances forcing existing companies to be constantly on guard for emerging competition and changing market conditions. Hence, there is a greater need for the businesses to continuously innovate and update their business strategies to adapt to faster changing world.
This Cambrian moment obviously has an impact on the employees. With the ambiguous work environment, changing priorities, and corporations regularly restructuring to confront changing environment, employees, managers and leaders in a company are victims of continuous stress. The results from the third annual work stress survey show that 83% of workers are stressed about their jobs and nearly 50% say work related stress is interfering with their sleep.
What does this lead to? Costly health expenses and productivity loss. It’s about time corporations and institutions start to offer mindfulness programs to their employees as a non-medication alternative to reduce stress, develop mental focus and alacrity, improve decision making ability and manage pain.
“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” according to Jon Kabat Zinn the initiator of Mindfulness Practice. Using breath as an anchor, an individual can during the day, bring attention to the present moment.
Typically our thoughts are dispersed and we lack awareness on our thoughts. Mind is constantly running and our inability to slow down leads to anxiety, fear, lack of focus - all leading to stress. Mindfulness is a process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Thus the goal of mindfulness is to be aware, moment by moment, of our body, our thoughts, our surroundings, and our motivations. This helps the mind to slow down. There are numerous studies that confirm Mind Body Interventions (MBI) like Mindfulness along with Yoga and Tai Chi can be used to reduce stress. Not only that, these MBI techniques can help employees and leaders develop mental focus and become more creative.
The next question in everyone’s mind is does this involve meditation. Not necessarily. There are multiple ways to bring the mind to the present moment. But, in my opinion, ability for sustained effort to bring our attention to the present moment gets easier by sitting practice or meditation. Just as attending a regular physical bootcamp fitness has a higher success rate to attain optimal physical health, similarly having a regular sitting practice leads to higher probability to bring attention to the present during the day.
You may be also wondering if the practice of mindfulness is secular. Though mindfulness has origin in eastern mysticism, Mindfulness practice was purposely stripped out of mysticism and spirituality to make it compatible for the secular institutions and accessible to everyone.
More and more companies are beginning to recognize mindfulness as the magic bullet to improve employee morale and worker productivity. As companies begin to incorporate mindfulness into their workplace, employees will take time to adopt the practice. It is important for company leaders and stakeholders to make information on mindfulness available through their internal newsletters, company websites and brown bag session with experts.
Schedule a Mindfulness Retreat for your organization today!