Google, eBay, Intel and General Mills offer classes on it. So do Harvard Business School, Ross School of Business and Claremont Graduate University, among other campuses. Mindfulness is not just a corporate trend, but a proven method for success.
Mindfulness – being focused and fully present in the here and now – is good for individuals and good for a business’s bottom line.
How can people practice it in a workplace where multitasking is the norm, and concerns for future profits can add to workplace stress?
“Even if a company doesn’t make it part of the culture, employees and managers can substitute their multitasking habits with mindfulness in order to reduce stress and increase productivity,” says Dr. Romie Mushtaq, www.BrainBodyBeauty.com, a neurologist with expertise in Mind-Body medicine and Mindful Living. “The result that you and your colleagues will notice is that you’re sharper, more efficient and more creative.”
Romie says the physiological benefits of clearing away distractions and living in the moment have been documented in many scientific and medical studies.
“Practicing mindfulness, whether it’s simply taking deep breaths, or actually meditating or doing yoga, has been shown to alter the structure and function of the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities, and improve memory,” she says. “Advances in neuroimaging techniques have taught us how these mindfulness-based techniques affect neuroplasticity.
“Multitasking, on the other hand, depresses the brain’s memory and analytical functions, and it reduces blood flow to the part of the right temporal lobe, which contributes to our creative thinking. In today’s marketplace, creativity is key for innovation, sustainability and leadership.
Romie offers this tip for practicing mindfulness in a multitasking business:
• Delegate. We often have little control over the external stresses in our life, particularly on the job. How can you not multitask when five people want five different things from you at the same time?
“Have compassion for yourself, and reach out for help,” Dr. Romie says. “If you can assign a task to somebody else who’s capable of handling it, do so. If you need to ask a colleague to help you out, ask!”
This will not only allow you to focus on the tasks that most need your attention, it will reduce your stress.
“And who knows? The colleague you’re asking for help may want to feel appreciated and part of your team!”
While it is possible to practice mindfulness in a hectic workplace, Dr. Romie says she encourages business leaders to make it part of the company culture. Stress-related illnesses are the number one cause of missed employee workdays.
“Offering mindfulness training and yoga classes or giving people time and a place to meditate is an excellent investment,” she says. “Your company’s performance will improve, you’ll see a reduction in stress-related illnesses and you’ll be a more successful businessperson.”