Mindfulness, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”.
While the Eastern hemisphere has practiced mindfulness for years, the Western world is slowly coming around to the idea. Perhaps with the increase of technology and constant distraction, mindfulness is becoming more important as a practice. In fact, a recent report showed how schools have implemented mindfulness as a replacement for detention and the results have been staggering. We’re also seeing yoga and meditation rooms popping up in offices and airports all over the U.S.. What was once confined to monasteries is now flowing into our everyday lives.
Practicing mindfulness can change your perspective, your leadership, and your mind:
Mindfulness changes your perspective
A fascinating article by Psychology Today goes through the various ways that mindfulness molds the mind. From making us more empathetic and compassionate to decreasing fear and anxiety, mindfulness can truly change your point of view. Instead of fixating on the problems that surround you, mindfulness gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and think more positively. By stopping, breathing and focusing on more positive things, you can turn your whole day around.
Mindfulness makes you a better leader
To lead others well, it’s important to first take care of yourself. Maybe that’s why companies like Google, Ford, Target and Goldman Sachs have all initiated programs to promote mindfulness. As leaders sit down to empty their minds, they are able to make better decisions. Don’t just take our word for it. Mindfulness can help leaders de-stress and focus on the tasks at hand. And studies show that happier leaders, lead to happier employees. Want to engage your employees? Try mindfulness on for size.
Mindfulness is great for the mind
It’s no surprise that mindfulness also impacts our mind. Inside the brain is a region known as the hippocampus which is composed of grey matter that is essential for our functions of memory, learning, emotions, and motor skills. This grey matter is largely affected by our age, drug use, and even poverty. While all of these “stress factors” are known to reduce the amount of grey matter, practicing mindfulness has been proven to have the opposite effect. In a Harvard study, participants who engaged in an average of 27 minutes a day in meditation, showed an increase in grey matter in just eight weeks. Who knew getting smarter was so easy?
Want to implement more mindfulness practices into your office? Here are five tips for where to start.