David Gelles, How to Be More Mindful at Work, The New York Times, November 2, 2018
Mindfulness in the workplace
It can be especially helpful to bring a mindful disposition to your job, which can be the source of significant stress. And workplace stress is becoming only more consuming, with email, intra-office chat tools and social media constantly competing for our attention, and often bleeding into the hours that historically gave you a break.
“We are encouraged in the workplace to be attached to an array of technology wizardry 24-7,” says Janice Marturano, founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership. “The information we’re being bombarded with can be anxiety producing and it can create a sense of disconnection that can overwhelm us in our personal and professional lives.”
Through the WI Lens
An increasing number of companies, ranging from Google to General Mills, are now teaching mindfulness in the office. The reason is simple: mindfulness is a simple way to reduce the impact workplace stress can have on our mind and body.
For anyone who needs a crash course on mindfulness at work and evidence on its benefits, this article will do the trick. It provides very simple steps “to be in the present moment”, therefore more productive and focused. Turning off pop-up notifications and push notifications; answering email during dedicated periods of time rather than constantly throughout the day as soon as it pops into our inbox; finishing one task before beginning the next – all these will help us being more mindful. The article also explains how a very simple exercise, known as R.A.I.N., can help us stay in the present moment and not get caught up clinging to the experiences of others, or our own emotions.
What this article goes on to explain is how positive thinking – described here as ‘thriving’ – can counter the effects that come from the negativity outlined above, from reduced memory to diminished performance. Based on studying people in a series of organisations in different industries, one of the authors has found that people who attain this state are more resilient, experience less burnout, and are more confident in their ability to take control of a situation
“Behind the jargon what this is really about is how we address the challenge of biodiversity under threat, move away from fossil materials like plastic and concrete, and use nature in a sustainable way, all of which could be summed up by “living in harmony with nature”.”
“In the new ‘consensual contract’ between employer and worker, what’s required is a commitment from the employer to safeguard the wellbeing of their people, and a commitment in return from employees to take personal responsibility for their performance of their job.”
“Could loneliness not only be damaging our mental and physical health but also be making the world a more aggressive, angry place? And if so, what are the implications for a cohesive society and democracy?”
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
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