Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and engaged in the moment. It lets us step back from unpleasant thoughts and emotions (aka stress) that arise because of challenging situations. Mindfulness helps us calm the mind, get in touch with our body, and gain perspective of the world around us. When we do that, it catapults us into the present. It makes us more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement– its energy-begetting, not energy consuming. And in our current climate, anything uplifting deserves some light and sure gets me excited. Kanye famously raps “My presence is a present” and I totally feel you Kanye, being present is the gift that keeps on giving.
The gains (as our fitness friends would say) from mindfulness are infinite. One of the most important reasons that companies all over the globe are incorporating stillness and silence to their daily routines is because of its direct impact on performance. Studies have shown mindfulness improves your performance on all types of tasks. Let’s not get it twisted, mindfulness isn’t catching fire solely based on people crushing their OKRs and KPIs out of the park, but it’s adding to the flame. Here are some of those fire producing examples of how mindfulness uplifts the workplace environment.
Mindfulness is the Ultimate Stress-Reliever
Stress is more than a performance killer; let’s be frank, it’s a people killer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly two-thirds of all hospital visits are for stress-related problems, and 75% of health-care expenses are stress-related. Stress can cause high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and more. Mindfulness is a great stress reliever because it takes us out of fight-or-flight mode and brings us into a relaxed state of mental clarity and calm.
Mindfulness Boost Creativity
Creativity hinges on our mental state. Mindfulness helps foster a creative frame of mind by defeating the negative thoughts that stifle creative thinking and self-expression. We are back to the facts from earlier, that mindfulness focuses us on the present and helps us all think freely and creatively. Think of it as the perfect balance between allowing the mind to freestyle and giving it some control. Mindfulness strengthens both but more importantly, aids in maintaining the balance of creative thinking and self-expression by deciding which is activated and when.
Improves our Ability to Focus
Mindfulness improves our ability to focus on one thing at a time. This focus carries over into everything little thing we do. Mindfulness teaches us to avoid distractions and bring a heightened level of concentration to our work. While some of us may have fallen prey to multitasking in the past, mindfulness will help to karate chop this productivity-squashing habit. A focused mind is a productive mind.
Strengthens our Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the “something” or the sauce as I like to say, in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. EQ is our ability to recognize and understand emotions in ourselves and others and to use this awareness to manage our behavior and relationships. It’s like our EQ is the operating system, and as we practice mindfulness we shut ourselves down, only to reboot with more functional features and way cooler emojis.
Improves us as People
Lastly, mindfulness just overall improves us as people. Many studies have connected mindfulness and prosocial behavior. Subjects who meditated showed compassion and kindness to others 50% more often than those who didn’t meditate. And all this time I thought it was the espresso and Beyonce that was bringing the best out of me. I guess there’s something about feeling present and calm that really gets the people goin’!