By guest blogger, Caroline White
Mindfulness has been described as a ‘panacea for the modern age’ and is a ‘new big thing’ that everyone is talking about. Of Buddhist origin, it is now being recognised by those interested in the ‘people stuff’ with journals such as the Lancet suggesting that the effectiveness of mindfulness for people experiencing depressive relapses, is superior to taking anti-depressants and there are no negative side effects.
One of the simplest definitions of mindfulness is ‘ a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique’.
Through allowing people to step back and become aware of their thoughts and feelings, mindfulness has also been linked to health benefits such as:
- Improved concentration and creativity
- Improved immune system
- Increase in resilience and happiness
- Decreases in stress, anxiety and depression
From an employer’s perspective, the above sounds like a panacea indeed, leading to much higher productivity levels, better team cohesion and reduced absenteeism. The HSE say more than in the last year alone, 10 million sick days were taken because of stress. This, in turn, will lead to increased employee engagement (as termed ‘the ‘Big E’ in Jane Sunley’s book (The People Formula:12 steps to productive, profitable, performing business success) and increases to top and bottom line figures. Furthermore a survey by Mental Health Foundation/YouGov found that 46% of workers struggle to switch off from work and that 65% would be likely to take part in activities that reduce stress.
So how mindfulness be implemented in your workplace? Perhaps hold a mindfulness workshop, an opportunity to get to grips with challenges facing your employees. There are also plenty of online resources and books available.
What are your experiences of mindfulness?