Mindfulness is quickly becoming a billion-dollar industry. With roots going back thousands of years, and the science to back it up, it’s no surprise, then, that the popularity of meditation – one way to practice mindfulness, is growing in the workplace. From CEO’s, to hedge-fund managers, creative directors and HR managers, mindfulness is a state of being that penetrates all levels and all positions within each and every industry. So why is meditation becoming the trend as opposed to other available options from yoga to massage? Because there’s something to meditation that appears to benefit the workplace and those that are a part of it more than recreation or relaxation do alone.
But before we can go any further, it is important to understand the relationship between meditation and mindfulness. These two terms are often used interchangeably, and yet, one is the cause while the other is the effect. “Mindfulness” is the state of being in the present moment- focused, aware, and effortlessly creative. “Meditation” is the means that takes us there. Through simple practice of concentrative focus, we can train our minds to release distraction, judgement and emotional reaction, almost spontaneously. The result? The achievement of maximum benefit with minimum effort. And with so many more people seeking a more fulfilling experience in their work as well as a greater work-life balance, cultivating a greater state of mindfulness is key.
Here are 5 quick tips to get started:
1. Start waking up earlier. Setting your alarm clock 15-20 minutes earlier and dedicating that time to a phone-free, easy-rising routine will create space for grounding before the chaos of your day takes over. Simple suggestions include; using a meditation app, sipping your coffee or tea while connecting with the nature outside your door or window, or offering gratitude through a few simple yoga postures.
2. Use your morning commute as an opportunity for inspiration. It’s pretty easy to be distracted by the traffic or the construction delays, but when we shift our perspective to one of opportunity as opposed to another stressor in the day, all sorts of good things can happen. Try downloading a podcast that inspires new learning and perspectives, or listen to music that speaks to your soul.
3. Hit them in the Heart. Those first interactions that you have when you get to work set the tone for nearly all interactions you will have that day. So often we jump into connecting with others from a lower-level of awareness, which pulls up yesterday’s stress. Try complimenting a co-worker, or better yet asking, “how can I support you today?” Even if you are the one with the mile long list, you will likely find that your offer to support is met with mutual respect.
4. Limit distractions. This is the secret sauce of the top-performers out there. Contrary to popular belief, we are NOT multi-taskers. In fact, research has proven that we can only hold one thought at a time and when we have multiple tabs open (on our screens and in our minds), we become switch-taskers and it takes us at least twice as long to complete a single task.
5. De-stress and Decompress. Regardless of how many of these tips and techniques you integrate each day, you are still human and will experience the normal effects of daily stress. Without consciously releasing the physical by-products of stress daily (cortisol, adrenaline, carbonic acid etc.), we run the risk of accumulation which can quickly breakdown the immune system and interrupt the activity of the mind. Attend a meditation class, find a great app, or take 10 and watch your breath while visualizing all of the stress leaving your physical, mental and emotional body.
With regular attention to cultivating a greater state of mindfulness, the work we do can be more impactful, enjoyable, and sustainable. Find a meditation practice that meets you where you’re at and stick with it. Like any great training program for body or mind, consistency is the key to success!
Mandy Trapp – Lifestyle Meditation