By now you’ve seen the concept of mindfulness circulating the web, magazines, your workplace, exercise classes, and just about anywhere your eyes can see. It was claimed to be one of the top 10 wellness trends of 2017 by Forbes, but is much more than just a trend—it is key to engagement. Mindfulness has proved itself to play a big role in the emotional and physical health of employees. So much so that in 2017 “1 in 7 workers report engagement in some sort of mindfulness-based activity,” according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
But why is practicing mindfulness so important today?
Work was one of the top 5 stressors in America in 2017, according to American Psychological Association (APA). Employees are more susceptible to feeling work-related stress and burnout which, as a result, can cause mental or psychosomatic illnesses like depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. To learn more about the impact of mental and behavioral health, check out our blog Behavioral Health in the Workplace.
How does mindfulness help alleviate the stressors of every day work life?
Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being present or aware and can improve the workplace for employers and employees by bolstering focus, enabling people to be more pleasant and productive, improving resilience, combatting sleeping disorders, lowering blood pressure, relieving chronic pain, and improving emotional health. If it can do all that, why aren’t more people practicing mindfulness? They are actually starting to—mindfulness as a coping method is on the up and up. Last year, 12 percent of people used mindfulness exercises to manage their stress, that’s in comparison to 9% in 2016, according to the APA. In 2018, we hope to help boost that number and help your team live happier and healthier lives.
You get it— mindfulness is important. So how can you teach your employees to start on the path to mindfulness?
Here are four steps to get them started:
STEP 1: FOCUS—Teach your employees to focus their full attention to what they are doing in the next 30 minutes. Try to avoid multi-tasking, as that actually lessens productivity [research]. By focusing on the present, your team can reduce stress, improve job safety, and increase productivity.
STEP 2: TAKE A PURPOSEFUL PAUSE— Encourage your team to take mini breaks throughout the day. During break, challenge them to connect to their breath, sit up straight and take a few deep breaths through the nose. Another great way to take a pause is by taking a step outside of the regular routine and going for a walk. Taking a moment throughout the day helps employees reset, focus, regulate their feelings, reduce stress indicators and increase their ability to make conscious decisions.
STEP 3: ELEVATE YOUR ATTITUDE— Thoughts and words are powerful and everyone has the ability to choose whether their reaction is negative, polite, or positive. To stay centered, employees can keep a journal to record simple gratitudes throughout the day. Gratitude and positivity can become authentic sentiments that help bolster job satisfaction, create a more productive working environment and improve one’s perspective on life.
STEP 4: MOVE— Highlight the benefits of joining an exercise class to your employees. Some great options in which you can practice mindfulness are yoga, qi gong, or tai chi. If they do not wish to get involved in classes, taking a walk and paying attention to movement and breathing, or standing up and stretching regularly are great ways to move while having a mindful moment.
At ADURO, we offer programss that include Intro to Mindfulness, Change Resilience, and Practicing Simple Gratitudes. Consistent mindfulness practices help to improve emotional and physical health. This year, take small steps to begin integrating exercises into your program today!