Mindfulness at work: benefits of meditation for your performance

Mindfulness and meditation make you a better manager. Research on mindfulness at work shows how meditation can boost your career and increase your performance and that of your business.

Mindfulness is the conscious, non-judgemental awareness of the emotions, thoughts and sensations experienced in the present moment.

Too many people consider mindfulness to be little more than a fad, but if you don’t already practice meditation or mindful leadership you are making a serious mistake.

This is how mindfulness makes you a better manager

Recently published research on the effects of mindfulness shows that managers who meditate make better decisions. The long-term effects of meditation on managers’ behaviors included:

Strategic thinking: More time spent on strategic thinking.

Focus on root causes: Greater focus on root causes rather than symptoms.

Openness and honesty: More open and honest relationships with colleagues.

These benefits of mindfulness are impressive. If you previously ruled out mindfulness techniques from your managerial toolbox, these points should make you think again. What kind of professional (in his or her right mind) would reject a method that not only improves your general well-being but also makes you a better manager and leader?

However, if the above points for some reason weren’t enough…

Here are 6 more ways in which mindfulness makes you a better leader:

Stress management

Mindfulness improves your stress management abilities. On a general level, it reduces stress and anxiety, making you feel more calm and relaxed, but it also makes you better equipped to handle particularly stressful situations so that they don’t overwhelm you. Coping with stress is key to meet and exceed the expectations of today’s demanding business world and it is a must for any professional who wishes to be in it for the long run.

Positive thinking

Mindfulness makes you think more positively because the constant chatter in your mind is reduced and silenced, so you can avoid getting caught in downward spirals of negative thinking. Through being able to distance yourself from your thoughts you can gain new and positive perspectives. New perspectives and positive thinking make you a better problem-solver and increases your resilience in the face of adversity.

Focus and concentration

Mindfulness strengthens your ability to concentrate. In the modern world, you are constantly fed with information and distractions, often through digital media, so your attention-span is getting shorter. Unfortunately, interruptions are a costly, but very common, source of inefficiencies. Once interrupted, it takes an average of 23 minutes for you to get back to your task. The ability to fend off distractions and focus your full attention on one task for an extended period of time is a must-have for your performance.

Better sleep

Mindfulness improves your sleep because it helpts you to let go of the worries of the day. Problems tend to be blown out of proportion during the small hours of the night, but mindfulness helps you put them back into perspective. There is probably no need to tell you that you can’t function normally without proper sleep, much less perform at your best.

Self-awareness

Mindfulness helps you understand yourself more clearly. If anything, great managers need to be self-aware. Self-awareness is needed to identify and understand strengths and weaknesses in oneself. You also need self-awareness for self-regulation and to interact appropriately with others, be it your boss, customer or subordinate.

Complex thinking

Mindfulness works as a reboot for your system. Every time you meditate you clear your system of distracting thoughts that cloud your mind and slow down your thinking. Through mindfulness you free more awareness and attention to focus on performing complex thinking.

Still not convinced that you should practice mindfulness? Then you should:

Learn about the importance of mindfulness from the best

Mindfulness is a natural practice at Google. The company has incorporated mindfulness practices because it knows that the well-being and performance of their employees ultimately affects the performance of the company. Thousands of Googlers attend one of the company’s many courses on mindfulness and meditation each year. Google’s Search Inside Yourself program, launched by spiritual guru and Googler Chade Meng-Tan in 2007, is the most famous one and is frequently cited among employees as both a personal and professional life-changer.

At this point, there should be no doubt in your mind that you should start practicing mindfulness and meditation. What are you waiting for?