How often do you stop, take a breath, and notice what is happening around you?
Those who regularly follow my content will have seen posts about a recent trip to the North East & Yorkshire. During this break, I noticed that being present in the moment can often be challenging, with tasks, ideas, and stimuli coming at pace. However, slowing down affords us time to focus on how brilliant, inspiring, and beautiful the world around us can be and provides a dopamine hit like no other.
On the Action for Happiness calendar, this month is #mindfulmarch and challenges us to take simple actions to become more attuned to our surroundings.
So, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness has gained immense popularity in recent years as a means of improving our mental and emotional health. Mindfulness is an ancient practice that involves bringing one's full attention to the present moment. It develops awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment or attachment. It is an approach that encourages us to be in the moment and to observe what is happening around us with an open mind and heart.
When we practice mindfulness, we become more aware of our thoughts and feelings, better understand them and take action when necessary. This awareness helps us foster a stronger sense of self-awareness and understanding, which can lead to improved mental and emotional health. Mindfulness can also improve physical health and well-being, as it helps us to relax and become more aware of our bodies.
The positive impact of mindfulness on our lives manifests in various ways. One of the most important benefits of mindfulness is improved focus and concentration. When mindful, we can become more aware of our thoughts and focus on the task without our minds beginning to wander. We become better equipped to manage our stress levels, as mindfulness helps us to be aware of the physical and mental responses to stress and take action to reduce those responses.
Mindfulness also helps improve our relationships with others, allowing us to be more present and aware of our interactions, leading to better communication and improved relationships. Mindfulness also encourages us to be more mindful of our actions and their consequences. When we become aware of our actions, we are more informed to make decisions that benefit ourselves and our relationships.
Mindfulness can help us to improve our overall well-being. Studies have shown that those who practice mindfulness experience greater happiness, improved physical health, and better performance. In addition, mindfulness can help us be more compassionate and understanding of ourselves and others, which leads to improved relationships and greater satisfaction with our lives.
So, how is mindfulness impacting our work environments? And what benefits will this bring?
Firstly, priorities are changing following the pandemic, following experiences that felt incomprehensible in 2019. In the face of these challenges, the focus is shifting, and so are corporate cultures and environments. One of the most profound changes is the need to be more present and mindful.
With mental health now on the corporate agenda, the stigma attached to pursuing a more mindful approach to work has reduced. And in many cases, companies are actively investing in the workforce environment, creating collaborative spaces to reduce stress, which evidence suggests builds healthier companies, both commercially and culturally.
Mindfulness has the redoubtable assertion that self-awareness is just as likely to find the answers to problems as in the world outside. This results in a long list of positive impacts for your business, and here are just a few examples:
Being comfortable understanding and managing your behaviour, your reaction to feelings, and things happening around you is a key benefit of mindfulness. There is growing evidence that this increased self-awareness supports the creation of equitable workplaces when used in conjunction with equality, diversity, and inclusion training.
Mindfulness helps people stick to the task while approaching problems with an open mind and removing emotion from disagreements. In turn, our capacity to take perspective increases allowing us to accept opposing views. This may sound counterintuitive, but by stopping and immersing yourself in mindfulness, you can welcome other opinions, resulting in more collaborative solutions.
Stress and Burnout
As mentioned earlier on, another key benefit of mindfulness is its stress reduction powers. Research shows that when mindfulness is practised regularly stress decreases significantly, helping mitigate the risk of burnout.
Innovation, Creativity, and Productivity
Employees who practice mindfulness are not only less stressed and more collaborative, they become agile thinkers who are more creative and productive with their time. In 2017, a team of researchers ran a study where participants split into three groups. All the teams had the same task, with one group told to complete a mindfulness exercise, the second instructed to let their minds wander, with the final group starting to solve it immediately. All groups came up with a similar number of ideas, the only difference being that the mindfulness group developed more diverse solutions.
Leaders should no longer view mindfulness training as a peripheral activity for their business. The powerful and long-lasting impact on individuals and teams is there for all to see.
Can you afford not to invest in supporting teams through one of the most challenging times in workplace history?
Check out my LinkedIn post every Saturday, where I share the simple ways that help us become more mindful during March.
Why not let me know how you will become more present in your life?
And how it will positively impact you.
Have a brilliant week!
Dave Rogers, Chief Business Explorer, Fuelled Fit and Fired Up