Mindfulness is spilling into areas beyond medicine, healthcare, psychology and neuroscience. It’s moving into programs in education with children and college students, parenting, athletics, the legal profession and business.
Studies of Mindfulness in a business context have shown that increases in mindfulness are associated with increased creativity and decreased burnout and executive and corporate mindfulness leadership programs are emerging to meet the need. A 2001 FAA study found that multitasking reduces productivity by as much as 20%-40%, while a study with business men in Korea found practicing mindfulness increased productivity. Pacific Investment Management Co and technology leaders, Apple Computer, Yahoo!, Texas Instruments, Nortel Networks and Google have all already instituted mindfulness training and wellness opportunities on-site.
How do you begin to practice mindfulness in a corporate or office environment? In an atmosphere where you may be easily distracted habitually shuttling between the past, future and multiple projects, mindfulness may seem impossible.
Breathing Exercise for Work:
Simple breathing exercises can be practiced anywhere. While sitting at your desk, you can inhale deeply for 10 breaths, counting on the inhale until your lungs are full (usually the count reaches around 4-5) and also counting on the exhale until the lungs are completely empty. Repeat this deep breathing for 10-20 breaths. Use your breath as a tool to bring yourself into the present moment.
Sitting Mindfully at Work:
Take a moment during the day and notice how you are sitting. Are you slumped and leaning toward your desk or computer? Try sitting with your back straight. The neck and head should be aligned with the spinal column, straight, but not stiff. Keep your eyes focused a yard or two in front of you. Notice your breath and relax all your muscles. Relax the muscles of your face, hands, arms and legs. Sit comfortably for a few minutes. For a more on mindfulness at work try the following link: Mindfulness in the workplace
Practicing Mindfulness at work may initially feel uncomfortable, but the benefits are immense. Mindfulness enables us to more effectively listen deeply, make informed decisions, handle stress and innovate.
You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
Happy worker photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 12 Sep 2012