Committed workers form the backbone of any organization. Their overall well-being is crucial not only in terms of retaining talent but also in generating profits. Few things are as expensive and toxic to a workplace as good employees feeling stressed and burnt out. In fact, 1 in 2 employees leaves their job to escape a demanding work environment.
In recent years, mindfulness meditation is becoming popular with the American mainstream. Many studies have recorded the benefits of mindfulness, with prominent companies like Google, Intel and Aetna offering mindfulness training to their employees.
Drawing its roots from ancient Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness is defined as,
“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
The following list explores some of the many benefits that employees can experience from mindfulness meditation:
1. Increases Focus
Mindfulness meditation positively affects attentional functioning and cognitive focus. According to a 2009 study by Moore and Malinowski, researchers compared a group of experienced meditators with a control group that had no prior meditation experience. The meditation group performed significantly better on all tests measuring attention.
2. Creates Self- Awareness And Compassion
Self- leadership is a quality mindfulness emphasizes, making one compassionate and empathetic to the views of others. According to the journal Psychological Science, researchers from Northeastern and Harvard universities found that meditation is significantly related to increased virtuous or “doing good” behavior. This in turn nurtures a healthy and robust company habitat, where employees are cooperative and willing to work as a team, as opposed to being resentful and frustrated.
3. Decreases Anxiety
In a 2013 Massachusetts General Hospital Study, 93 individuals with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were randomly assigned to two groups. One group became part of an eight week group intervention program based on mindfulness- based stress reduction (MBSR). The other group studied stress management education (SME), and served as control. By the end of the study, the group enrolled in the MBSR program experienced a significant decrease in anxiety levels.
4. Boosts the Immune System
Telomerase is an enzyme that prevents cell ageing and cell damage, thus prolonging cell longevity. In 2010, researchers examined the effects of a three- month meditation retreat on telomerase activity in participants. A significant increase in enzyme activity indicated that meditation can bolster immunity and reduce the incidence of age- related diseases.
5. Protects the Brain
Mental health of employees is a major concern for company management. Researchers at the University of Oregon discovered that practicing meditation can result in brain changes that may serve as a shield against mental illness. The signaling connections in the brain, also known as axonal density, are enhanced. There is also a rise in myelin, the protective tissue around axons, in the anterior cingulate region of the brain.
6. Less Sick Days
A study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, analyzed the protective effects of mindfulness and exercise against cold and flu. A group of 149 people, averaging around 59 years of age, were divided into three groups. Fifty- one participants were allotted eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training. Forty- seven participants performed moderate exercises such as biking and running for eight weeks. The remaining fifty- one participants were not assigned anything. At the end of the research, the meditation group was linked to a 40- 50% decrease in flu symptoms, as compared to a 30- 40% decrease in the exercise group.
Mindfulness boosts the physiological balance of mind, body and spirit. According to research from Stanford, employee productivity per hour drops sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours. After 55 hours, the productivity level falls so low that it is insignificant. There isn’t any quality work being done any more. Exhausted workers does not lead to quality work, and is counter- productive to the workplace. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for spiritual development and well- being. With regular practice, employees can develop a complete and holistic outlook toward life and work.
In conclusion, here are some great apps related to mindfulness meditation, that provide both guidance and mental relaxation for your employees: