Practising Mindfulness meditation on a regular basis enhances a person’s ability to be fully present. That present awareness then creates greater choice on how we respond to the changes, pressures and challenges that we encounter in life. It boosts our resilience and emotional intelligence, makes us feel happier, less stressed and has even been shown to create new neural pathways and change the shape of certain parts of the brain.
But why are many companies now encouraging employees to practice it in the workplace?
Of course a well and happy workforce leads to better talent engagement and less absenteeism. But there are other reasons that cultivating a Mindful culture may offer a competitive advantage for companies introducing their own programs in to the workplace. Here are just two of them:
- Mindfulness meditation is a form of attention training. In a 2013 Harvard experiment to monitor the link between mind wandering and happiness, the findings were that on average our Minds are actually wandering 47% of the time. That’s a lot of time to be un-focussed on the task in front of us and mentally absent from meetings! So training our minds to wander less and be fully present more is a smart and productive move (And the study also showed that we are actually happier when our minds are not wandering, irrespective of what we are thinking about when they do. Win-Win!).
- Mindfulness leads to better decision making. Having a different relationship with our own thought patterns and their emotional content leads to better decision making. With Mindfulness we start to develop the ability to step out of our habitual thinking patterns and increase our capacity for creative and innovative thinking. In fact a series of experiments conducted by INSEAD & The Wharton Business School showed that Mindfulness may well increase our resistance to the “sunk-cost bias” (the tendency we have to persist with a project once we’ve made an investment of money, time or effort.)
So it seems that Mindfulness is not just good for us, it’s good for business too.