Mindfulness for the Workplace
The wave of social and scientific interest in mindfulness is a testament to the need for, and promise of, relief from today’s overwhelming, overtaxing and overstimulating workplaces. But you don’t have to be a business consultant (or a neuroscientist!) to know that the accelerated pace and “always on” culture of modern work life is unhealthy for individuals and for the professional missions they are supporting; nor to know that support for these negative and costly conditions is to be found through the path of less, not more; through subtraction, not addition; through creating space and silence, not more things and information.
Mindfulness practices have been around for a long time, because they work. Practitioners can attest to this from personal experience.
Simply put, here’s how they work:
Within an environment that is supportive of space, silence, stillness and slowness, mindfulness practices apply directed attention to one’s own body and mind, thereby transforming inner conditions of stress, overwhelm, distraction, anxiety, fatigue and burnout into flow, balance, focus, confidence, energy and inner resourcing. Many excellent studies and books are exploring and even quantifying these processes with greater rigor. But you do not need to wait for scientific proof (whatever that might look like!) to experience this for yourself.
The “Wellness Case” for mindfulness has been experientially validated for a long time. The “Business Case” is still evolving (along with an evolving cultural understanding of what makes a “good” or healthy mission!). Nevertheless, a tipping point seems to have been reached in the business community, with many successful large corporations such as Google, Adobe, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Mayo Clinic, Aetna and Target investing in formal mindfulness programs to promote stress reduction and employee engagement.