Some people suffer from burnout, some quarrel with colleagues, some who take multitasking a step too far… and some who learn mindfulness. That is, the practice similar to meditation that makes us aware of the present. According to biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn’s – one of the pioneers of this approach – definition, it is about «focusing, but in a specific way: with intention, at the present moment and in a non-judgmental way». No relaxation exercise needed: the objective is to learn to fully live present situations, putting aside the worries of the past and the future. What’s new is that, for some years now, this technique has also been used in companies to increase concentration, improve performance and create positive working conditions for employees.
Among the most required soft skills are resilience and the ability to manage stress situations. Mindfulness helps to develop these skills, to better face even the most unpredictable situations in the office. And at the end of the day, to be more productive. Because, of course, you’ll work better where you feel better.
Among the soft skills most required by companies are resilience and the ability to manage stress situations. Mindfulness helps to develop these skills, to better face even the most unpredictable situations in the office
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (Mbsr) programs were developed by medicine professor Jon Kabat Zinn in the late 1970s at the University of Massachusetts and have since spread throughout the world, until they reached the corporate world, where companies now create specific courses or spaces such as the quiet rooms, where employees can take a break. And the effects are positive: they reduce stress, improve employee productivity and interpersonal relationships.
At Google, for example, mindfulness lessons are taught with the aim of improving the emotional intelligence of employees. Knowing codes and technologies is not enough to work and live well. Quiet break rooms are now to be found in the headquarters of the largest companies in the world. For example, Apple provides spaces for employees, allowing them to have 30 minutes a day to meditate in the office, providing courses on Mindfulness and yoga. But other big names like Nike, AOL Time Warner and Yahoo! also offer a wide range of health and fitness programs that include meditation courses and areas for relaxation within company spaces.
Phone calls and things to do can overlap, and there can be several unexpected issues that need to be solved. In these cases, mindfulness suggests taking a break, going to the bathroom and putting cold water on the eyes and wrists
Among the techniques to think about is grounding. It consists in being conscious of your body and the feelings it is experiencing. You concentrate on every part of the body: first on the legs, the arms, the hands, the face, then focusing on the forehead, neck and back, where stress is most manifested. Taking into consideration also where our body is placed: the desk chair, the car seat, the armchair during a particularly stressful meeting. And in these cases, you can also “learn to breathe”. How? By feeling the breath in parts of the body where it is most evident. So be aware of the air that passes through it.
You can also be aware when you take a break, drinking coffee or tea. The exercise is to observe what is on the table, to notice the colors, the consistency of the food and the flavor, awakening the senses. It is in these moments that we might realize that the snack we are eating is too sweet or has a consistency that we do not like at all. Without forgetting to focus on every sound or noise, and also on silences.
Mindfulness, moreover, is especially useful in situations of stress at work. Phone calls and things to do can overlap, and there can be several unexpected problems that need to be solved. In these cases, mindfulness suggests we take a break, go to the bathroom and put cold water on our eyes and wrists. Then, when you have a shower at the end of the day, you leave all your worries out. But how to do that? You can concentrate on the scent of shower gel or shampoo, the water that runs on your skin and maybe listen to good music.
Finally, the last two rules are: do not judge yourself and be grateful. Mindfulness implies being respectful of oneself in every area of life. So even if at first you can't concentrate fully, you have to learn to accept your weaknesses. Never forgetting to thank yourself for being able to take a moment of mental well-being. And as time goes on, everything will flow at its best. Even when we work with the most unpleasant co-worker.