What is Mindfulness?
In simple terms, Mindfulness can be defined as ‘is a technique you can learn to be fully present and engaged in the moment without judging anything.’ (Mental Health Foundation) Its origins stem from Hindu and Buddhist traditions, but over time, mindfulness techniques have merged with modern day medicinal practices and, according to Psychology Today, ‘became a pivotal therapeutic technique.’
Mindfulness can come in many forms, but most common to come to mind would be some meditation, where the mind can switch into the now, rather than allow thoughts to run to anxiety or worry. Whether it be sitting quietly, alone and focusing on body, to physically moving via yoga or some form of relaxed, slow-moving exercise, ‘It involves awareness, and impartiality about what we gain from this awareness.’ (positivepsychology.com)
According to Psychology Today, ‘Mindfulness encompasses two key ingredients: Awareness and Acceptance. This offers the individual the opportunity to assess their current surroundings and thought processes and acknowledging them in an objective and constructive manner.
The benefits of Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are multiple, with the ultimate goal being that ‘it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges’(NHS). Mindfulness requires practice and dedication, but according to the Mental Health Foundation, it can help:
- understand your emotions better
- cope better with difficult thoughts
- feel calmer
- boost your attention and concentration
- improve your relationships
Cases in which Mindfulness is less indicated
There is one factor to consider when thinking of practicing mindfulness though. Sometimes the art of mindfulness will not be in the best interests of the individual, especially someone suffering from PTSD, and therefore it is best to always consult a medical professional if these issues are impacting daily life. Mindfulness is not a one-stop shop to wellbeing, and there are many other beneficial techniques or medications that can potentially help alleviate symptoms. Mindfulness is simply one technique of many. Check out the charity, MIND for thoughts to consider – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/is-mindfulness-right-for-me/ and also refer to The Mental Health Foundation who offer advice for consideration https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/a-z-topics/mindfulness
How mindfulness can improve productivity in the office
Becoming aware of one’s status quo and actively working on maintaining it via mindfulness would help towards a positive workforce. With increased attention span and the ability to handle stress or deadlines in a constructive way, would all help contribute to a healthier workplace. Across all departments, ranging from Head Office to Human Resources, mindfulness can potentially help improve productivity, maintain healthy working relationships, and manage stress as it ‘helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they’re better able to manage them.’ (Mental Health Foundation)
What employers can do to help raise awareness of mindfulness in the office
There are many ways employers can raise awareness of mindfulness in the office and this can be through running workshops or providing employees time in the working day to practice mindfulness, perhaps at their desk or in a dedicated room set aside. Making sure employees feel that their best interests are first and foremost being considered will help towards building a positive and healthy workforce.
There are various corporate Mindfulness workshops and courses available, to tackle various aspects of this discipline and achieve different goals within your organisation, such as Mindfulness for Productivity, Mindfulness for Creativity, Mindfulness Communication and an 8-week Mindfulness course.