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Mindfulness in the workplace: Mindfulness is not woo.

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


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What comes to mind for you when you hear the word “mindfulness”? Do you picture dimly lit studios and group meditation?


If yes, you’re not wrong but you only have half the picture.

The other half of the picture shows mindfulness sitting comfortably and almost imperceptibly among deadlines, sales calls, laden to-do lists, and boardrooms.

Mindfulness is not woo.

It’s a concrete skill that plays a role in the success of professionals. In fact, I would argue that mindfulness is so important a skill that professionals can no longer afford to ignore it.

In this article, I’ll talk about why I feel this way but, before I do that, I’ll explain what mindfulness really is, to make sure we’re all referring to the same thing.

The rise of mindfulness.

Mindfulness has exploded in popularity in recent years, which, overall, is a good thing. One of the drawbacks, however, is that the more people talk about it, the more its purpose gets a bit muddled. So, we end up with all kinds of slightly different understandings of what mindfulness is.

Mindfulness is about being fully in the present moment. It’s about being aware of all that is going on around and within us, without judging it or immediately trying to change it. So, to that end, mindfulness is about learning: learning about others, learning about our circumstances, and, perhaps most importantly, learning about ourselves to become more self-aware.

The power of mindfulness in the workplace.

There have been countless studies and articles published about mindfulness and its impact on the workplace. As I review this research, I’m keeping an informal tally of the benefits of mindfulness. My list is currently over 60 items long and includes physiological, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.

Let’s explore three of these benefits.

Mindfulness improves focus and concentration.[1]

When we are truly in the present moment, our attention is trained on what we are doing, whether that’s completing a task, attending a meeting, or having a conversation with a colleague. In other words, we’re not thinking about what we will do after work, whether we’ll successfully be able to get our task done, or what our manager really meant by a certain comment yesterday.

Focus matters at work, now more than ever. Stimuli and distractions are at all-time highs. This isn’t miraculously going to change. If we want to cut through the noise, we must take matters into our own hands and hone our ability to focus, regardless of what is going on around us.

Mindfulness improves social relationships.[2]

Being mindful leads to a better mood, less emotional reactivity, and more compassion, all of which positively influence our relationships. When we are fully present in interactions, we pick up more easily on others’ body language, facial expressions, and choice of words. Being more attuned to their reactions can help us adapt our responses. Additionally, when we’re more self-aware (in other words, mindful), we are cognizant of our own thoughts, including potential opinions, criticisms, and biases. Armed with this knowledge, we can then dispel thoughts that are not helpful to the interaction.

The need for effective teamwork and cooperation will only grow as collaborative workplaces gain popularity.

Mindfulness improves decision-making.[3]

Effective decision-making involves considering a problem from multiple angles. The only way we can appreciate various perspectives is by allowing ourselves to truly see them. Often, when we’re looking for the solution to a problem, we become stuck in our own point of view. Being mindful is about taking a step back and allowing ourselves to objectively reflect on what is going on, even when we don’t like what we see.

Poor decision-making can lead to costly mistakes. Being more mindful won’t eliminate those mistakes but will arm us with a better understanding of the factors at play, which will allow us to confidently make a decision regarding next steps.

So, now what?

In this article, I’ve given you a mere glimpse of the many benefits mindfulness can have for professionals. But hopefully that’s enough for you to start to see that mindfulness is indeed not woo. It has a positive impact on many critical business skills.

Interested in incorporating mindfulness into your workday? Wondering where to go from here? There are three steps you can take:

  1. If you are a leader and want to help your team or clients harness the power of mindfulness to help them manage stress, manage their mindset, and improve their well-being, consider one of my corporate presentations. I present on a variety of topics like stopping the spin of our thoughts, getting a better night’s sleep, mindfully managing our time, being more present, improving focus and concentration, etc. You can contact me via Linked In or you can get in touch with me via my website.

  2. If you’d like more personalized guidance on incorporating mindfulness into your workday or bringing more clarity to a specific challenge you are facing, contact me about private coaching sessions.

  3. Finally, if you’d like regular advice on how to incorporate mindfulness into your workday, sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter.

Thank you for reading!


Stephanie



LORA Concepts Inc.

workplace engagement & well-being




p.s. The information, insight, and advice I share through my work is meant to exist alongside whatever else you may be doing to bolster your mental health, manage stress, or improve your well-being. Nothing I share is meant to replace directives or treatment plans provided by your doctor, therapist, or other healthcare professional.



[1] Jha et al., 2007; Chambers, Lo, and Allen, 2008; Zeidan et al., 2010; Kilpatrick et al., 2011; Kozasa et al., 2012; Leroy et al., 2013; Andrews et al., 2014; Dane and Brummel, 2014; Gupta et al., 2014; Shonin et al., 2014; Petchsawang and McLean, 2017; Reb et al., 2017; Slutsky et al., 2019.

[2] Baer, 2003; Kabat-Zin, 2005; Kurash and Schaul, 2006; Glomb et al., 2012; Rupprecht and Walach, 2016; Kersemaekers et al., 2018; Yu and Zellmer-Bruhn, 2018.

[3] Fiol and O’Connor, 2003; Good et al., 2016.

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