Mindfulness is everywhere. I don’t know about you but I see the term ‘mindfulness‘ at least once a week in my email as a topic for articles, networking events and even webinars.
‘Doing Wonders’ for Productivity
So when a notice of a mindfulness class appeared on The Alliance lunchroom bulletin board, I was intrigued.
The Alliance mindfulness class was led by a colleague who has practiced mindfulness for many years. I admit I was skeptical when the class began but I was a convert when it ended.
I believe the 15 minutes of taking a break and breathing did a world of wonders for my productivity and creativity the rest of the day.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is another term used for meditation. It is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. It is often used as a therapeutic technique.
This practice was derived from a 2,500 year old Buddhist practice called Vipassana or Insight Meditation. It is used to help pay attention, practice patience and learn compassion.
It is achieved by being fully aware and present in the moment. You can do this by playing a musical instrument or doing martial arts but many practice through breathing. Allowing yourself to breath naturally and slowly in and out without it controlling you creates a sense of awareness of yourself.
When doing this for the first time your mind will wander. Mine naturally went to a to-do list, what I should eat for lunch, what I forgot to do yesterday, etc.
The act of mindfulness is to bring yourself back to just focusing on your breathing.
The facilitator and colleague of mine mentioned a quote in the last session I attended that I loved, from Gandhi:
“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
Benefits of Mindfulness
Studies have found that practicing mindfulness can clinically improve the effectiveness of the management of stress, anxiety, panic, chronic pain, depression, obsessive thinking, emotional reactivity and mental health issues, according to Mindfulness
-Bases Stress Reduction in Central Pennsylvania.
Additional benefits of meditation include but are not limited to:
- Improved immune system
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
- Better sleep Increased energy
- Improved decision-making skills
- Enhanced resilience to change
- Help with smoking cessation
- Restored mental function, memory and creativity
Mindfulness in the Workplace
Mindful meditation programs are being implemented as part of many corporate wellness programs, hospitals, health care facilities, schools and government offices across the United States.
Companies such as Apple, Google, General Mills and Procter & Gamble have all incorporated mindfulness into their workplace. Influential leaders are also voicing their love for mindfulness, such as Oprah Winfrey, Chairwoman, & CEO, Harpo Productions; Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post; and Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Co.
Employers that have incorporated this into their corporate culture report not only reaping the benefits of lower health care costs but also gaining a sense of positivity in the workplace.
Basicmindulnessmediation.com claims that it helps employees be more competent in the job, more enjoyable to work with and improves their decision making skills.
Get Started with Free Resources
There really is no downside to mindful meditation.
Best of all, there are many free resources that employers can use to promote to their employees to encourage them to do mindfulness at work. Here are just a few videos and links that I have found to be helpful.
- UCLA Guided Mindful Awareness Meditations
- Palouse Mindfulness
- Free eBooks and Audio Downloads : Mindfulness – Based StressReduction in Central Pennsylvania
- Wellness & Mindfulness Books
- Ten Steps to Mindfulness Meditation Infographic
In addition to her work at The Alliance, Tierney is an active member on The Business Forum, previously serving on the board and acting as senior chair for the ATHENA committee. Tierney also participates in the Advertising Federation of Madison and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network of Madison.
Tierney earned her bachelor's degree of business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with an emphasis in information systems and a certification on the Project Management Body of Knowledge.
Read blog posts by Tierney.
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