In our constantly wired and connected world we are bombarded with streams of information from numerous sources. This all adds to the busy chatter in our heads, feelings of being overwhelmed and our inability to focus on one thing.
As digital technology becomes ever more present in our lives there has been a marked increase in the interest in and practice of mindfulness. And at Shine this come as no surprise to us.
Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation, which is essentially brain training. It typically consists of concentrating on your breath as it flows in and out of your body and being aware of what is going on around you in the present moment. A workout for the mind if you like. By training the mind to focus on the present moment through mindfulness meditation, it has been proven that stress is reduced, focus improved, resilience increased and overall wellbeing heightened.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Prof. Jon Kabat Zinn, founder, the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Why is mindfulness important when managing our digital distractions?
The act of sitting and focusing on the breath helps us to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings in a clearer way. It also gives us the tools to respond to the challenges and complexities of daily life. Mindfulness can give us the space away from a demanding inbox, social media notifications, texting, phone calls. It can help us to focus, refresh the mind and reduce stress.
At Shine Offline, the team practice mindfulness meditation in the office every day. Okay, we try. Almost every day. We have found taking the time to practice on a regular basis is having a positive impact on our ability to focus, to communicate effectively and deal with stress at work and at home. And we laugh more.
What are the proven benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been shown to have a number of scientifically-proven benefits to both physical and mental wellbeing. (Read more)
More recently the business benefits are being acknowledged with research showing that productivity, focus, attention, employer/employee and client relationships, job satisfaction and wellbeing are all improved when the practice of mindfulness is introduced.
The Mind and Body Medical Institute at Harvard University states that mindfulness enhances the qualities companies need most from their employees:
- increased brain-wave activity
- enhanced intuition
- better concentration
- positive results in executive performance
- employee engagement
- employee retention and bottom-line results
As a result large international companies such as Google, GSK and EY are introducing mindfulness programmes into the workplace for employees. Business leaders are starting to recognise that they need this invaluable tool if they are going to stay one step ahead of the competition. The aim for these organisations is to create a happier, healthier and more resilient workforce with higher productivity and reduced sickness absence levels.
In 2015 an article in the Harvard Business Review (read here) stated that “Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”: a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress. It can be integrated into one’s religious or spiritual life, or practiced as a form of secular mental training. When we take a seat, take a breath, and commit to being mindful, particularly when we gather with others who are doing the same, we have the potential to be changed.”
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Mindfulness at work – what are the benefits?