Mindfulness for Workplace Well-Being (The Guardian : 26/09/2017)

The practice of mindfulness and meditation has been around for thousands of years but has gained interest in the business world primarily because we now have the ability to see how these practices change the wiring and makeup of our brains.

Mindfulness is the simple act of paying attention to the moment-by-moment experiences. It is about being here and present. For example, you are eating lunch but are completely lost in thought. You look down to realize you have finished your food but did not really pay attention to the experience of eating.

Research indicates that we are spending about 47% of our waking moments thinking about something other than what we are doing in that moment. This constant mind wandering can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. It is not the stress in our life, but the reaction to stress that is so potentially harmful to our health. Mindfulness techniques are extremely important and useful to minimize these unhealthy reactions to stress.

Every single person at your workplace has experienced stress or anxiety at some point in their lives, but not everyone knows how to deal with or cope with stress effectively. Mindfulness can be used as a preventive measure for stress, anxiety, and difficulties with concentration. It also works to maintain and boost emotional wellness and awareness.

Emotional and mental wellness has a huge impact on the well-being of your team. With a healthy mindset, it is easier to perform and concentrate during the workday. Mindfulness is a step in the right direction when it comes to bringing a more holistic approach to your employee wellness program. It is one of the easiest ways to help your employees become healthier and happier.

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Recent research has demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behavior.

Mindfulness improves physical health:

Scientists have discovered the benefits of mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can help:

  • Relieve stress
  • Treat heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Improve sleep
  • Alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties

Mindfulness improves mental health

In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Couples conflicts
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Increasingly, mindfulness training courses are becoming the norm in successful corporations around the world. Companies are finding it reduces stress and absenteeism, increases productivity, develops better leaders, and generates more creative workplaces. It also enhances cognitive thinking skills and triggers more imaginative solutions.

Reply back to bhakti@impactafya.com or call +255 754 694 643 with your feedback. We welcome your suggestions for corporate wellness tips you’d like to see covered in our future columns.

Bhakti Shah, MPH is the Founder and Managing Director of ImpactAfya Ltd, collaborating with Workplace Options and Mayo Clinic, USA to provide Corporate Wellness and EAP Solutions in East Africa. Bhakti is also the Advisor for the Africa Business Portal and the Past President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania.

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