What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a term that is often bandied around when discussing stress but what actually is it?

Mindfulness is the ability to focus our awareness on the current moment and manage attention, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

According to research done by Harvard University, we are distracted 46.9% of the time and due to 21st century living, our average attention span has reduced to 8 seconds. Mindfulness techniques can help us to overcome these problems and therefore help us to perform more efficiently and effectively in the workplace.

Understanding and managing attention is now arguably the single, most important determinant of business success and therefore it may be beneficial for your organisation to investigate the possibilities of introducing mindfulness practice as part of your training programme. In a recent study undertaken by the Institute for Mindful leadership, out of 80 leaders who took part in mindfulness, 93% said the training had a positive impact on their ability to create space for innovation, 89% said the programme enhanced their ability to listen to themselves and others, and 70% said the training made a positive difference in their ability to think strategically.

On top of this, the former CEO of Medtronic, William George, was quoted saying ‘If you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader and will make better decisions’, and Peter Drucker said ‘You cannot manage others until you can manage yourself first’. There are various ways in which the introduction of mindfulness in your workplace may improve the success of your organisation. Some are listed below:

  • Increased focus, helping people to create new possibilities
  • Increased employee work engagement
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved responsible decision making
  • Improved resilience
  • Improved relationships
  • Fewer accidents
  • Burnout of staff is less likely
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduction in stress levels

The best thing about mindfulness is that you are able to use it whenever despite how little time you may have. Some techniques that benefit me are listed below:

  • Focus on your breathing: breathe in slowly, each breath taking around 6 seconds, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let go of your thoughts, and concentrate on your breathing and your senses, letting all of your worries flow out of your body. Do this for as long as you think is necessary.
  • Listen to music
  • Try something new: try a new activity and focus your mind solely on that activity.
  • Colouring: lots of adult colouring books are available, sit down for as much time as you have and focus on nothing but the picture in front of you.

Interested in giving Mindfulness a go? Email katie@altruistuk.com today for your free mindfulness audio. Mindfulness for stress reduction is also covered in both our Resilience and Stress Management Training and Resilience and Stress Management Training Online.

Katie attended the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy where she set up Altruist in 2013. Since then, Katie has won various awards including Birmingham Mail's Young Achiever of the Year 2017, New Entrepreneurs Foundation 'Future Face of Business' and Entrepreneurial Spark's 'Most Accelerated Business'. She has also been a finalist in nine other award categories and in 2014, Katie was invited to attend the prestigious 'Women of the Year Lunch' in honour of her work raising awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

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