David Johnson, PhD:  info@canadiantrainingpartners.ca

The work environment of today is different from that in the past. The excessive information flow and the rapidly changing demands have left both employees and leaders feeling overwhelmed. Individuals increasingly feel that they need to be continuously online or available to keep up with the overabundance of information and news if they want to stay relevant.

Nowadays, it may seem like people are working harder than ever, however, research suggests that the opposite is true. Individuals are just feeling busier, and workplace engagement has increased by up to 80%. Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association has reported a 35% increase in anxiety in just one year (from 2016 to 2017). This is troublesome because it translates into absenteeism, mental health costs, and presenteeism – people spending time at work but not being productive.

Leaders need to have a clear mind

It is imperative that a leader must sustain mindfulness and consciousness not to get slowed down by a threatened, cluttered mind. He or she needs to go beyond just knowing and doing things – self-awareness and learning the art of ‘being’ can provide a competitive edge. For this purpose, the leaders of today must become capable of the following tasks:

  • Managing their minds to streamline and process the information overload in the best possible manner.
  • Instead of reacting on autopilot, give intentional responses.
  • Think with a clear mind to reach wiser decisions.
  • Identify their triggers, beliefs, values, and goals, which can have a positive or negative impact on their decision making.
  • Feel grounded and safe enough to operate with kindness, openness, and healthy curiosity.

These tasks can only be fulfilled if a person is practicing mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be simply defined as choosing to be in the present moment and overcoming reactivity or automatic responses. It helps decrease mind wandering. This is crucial because a distracted mind often perceives the world according to a negative bias, increasing stress, and decreasing a person’s happiness. While mindfulness involves contemplative practices like meditation, it may be incorporated into daily activities, too. For instance, one can practice mindful eating, walking, or listening to develop attention, focus, and regulate emotions.

Research highlighting the benefits of practicing mindfulness has encouraged many corporations to integrate it into their work environments. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular as a type of mental training that can equip a person to handle the rapid pace and stressful complexity of modern life. It trains the mind to cultivate the concept of ‘being’ and responding intelligently instead of reacting from a position of fear or perceived threat.

The importance of mindfulness in business

To some people, mindfulness may appear counterintuitive in the beginning because the mind is trained to slow down, remain more in the present, avoid judgment, and be open to exploring instead of rejecting challenging emotions and situations. However, mindfulness has been found to be the reason behind increased levels of well-being and, therefore, higher productivity.

It is no surprise why many professionals are increasingly embracing mindfulness practices to unleash untapped potential in themselves and others – including armed forces, lawyers, sports teams, health care providers, and executive teams. Organizations are benefiting from strategies that enable them to develop mindfulness that targets critical skills and mindsets, including self-awareness, focus, well-being, and resilience. Nevertheless, these mind management notions are still unexplored by many. If such individuals and organizations socialize the concept of mindfulness and take the necessary steps to integrate into their organizational culture, they can reap many benefits.

Having an understanding of why our brains think and respond in certain ways to various situations can allow business leaders to exercise greater control of stressful and frustrating moments in business. According to neurocoach Heather Crider, mindfulness is essential because people are more successful when they discover happiness and peace within themselves. It is important to focus on the brain because most people tend to ignore it. They understand that physical fitness is important, but fail to emphasize how crucial mental fitness is. As it turns out, mental fitness can be even more beneficial than physical fitness because “it’s the key to success in all areas of life.”

How can mindfulness help business?

Mindfulness, along with neurocoaching, can enable your business to grow significantly. Here are some benefits of mindfulness that are great for your business:

Mindfulness heightens productivity and engagement

Mental and physical stress can decrease a person’s productivity. Mindfulness identifies the route of the stressors and redirects your brain waves to navigate attention and focus towards the task at hand. When we are trying to get work done, one of our biggest challenges is that our mind keeps getting distracted due to the thoughts about other pending tasks. Mindfulness blocks off the negative impact of these distractions and brings your mind to the present moment. The more you practice mindfulness, the more your mind becomes trained to focus. This way, mindfulness helps you become more productive.

Mindfulness helps self-confidence and decision-making

Entrepreneurs and leaders must make several big decisions every day. The more the decisions pile up, the harder it may become to make a decision. Mindfulness, along with meditation, converges your focus on calming you down so that you can make a decision. This approach can enable you to handle a situation from a fresh mindset, making it easier for you to decide. Your confidence increases, and so do your decision-making skills.

Mindfulness can enhance your creativity and innovation

Many people feel like their creativity in the workplace is often scarce or occurs in small spurts. To increase the potential for creative brainstorming, experts advise that you incorporate mindfulness before a brainstorming session. Even a simple practice like meditating for a short while before solving a problem or thinking over an idea can help. This reduces anxiety and distractions and leaves a clear path for fresh thoughts and ideas to glide in.

Mindfulness can have other benefits too. It can increase empathy and reduce stress levels, which can make entrepreneurs better leaders. It can also prevent individuals from getting burnt out, increases their resilience, communication, and emotional intelligence. Whichever approach you want to apply in your business, mindfulness can be helpful. It is good to remember that training your mind will need time and investment, as well as patience, commitment, and curiosity. Human behaviors, mindsets, and habits are challenging to change. Individuals, societies, and organizations should revisit how the human mind works so that they can determine how to manage it best. The advantages of doing this are definitely worth the investment.

Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include.

Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Improving Mindfulness, Developing Creativity, Improving Self Awareness, Work Life Balance,

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