Psychologist Scott Bishop describes mindfulness as “nonelaborative, nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, sensation that arises … is acknowledged and accepted as it is.” Broken down, mindfulness changes the way we relate and react to the events and experiences in our everyday lives. It means no longer accepting your default mode as the only way to live. Mindfulness creates a more spacious way of being in the world that is less reactive and generally happier. To help yourself start practicing mindfulness, the University of Minnesota you should focus on your “intentions, attention, and attitude.”
Why Mindfulness Works
Researchers and scientists are pointing to neuroplasticity as the reasoning behind why mindfulness has so many positive outcomes. Simply stated, neuroplasticity means that the brain is able to evolve and adapt overtime. Your brain is constantly adapting to make sure it is always as efficient as possible. Positive Psychology explains it best, “When we practice mindfulness, we send the message to our brain that we are more effective at dealing with everyday tasks when we are aware, observant, nonreactive, and nonjudgmental. This causes our brain to make the changes that will improve our ability to function mindfully.”
They key, though, is to be consistent and practice mindfulness everyday. While short bursts of mindfulness can benefit anyone, to achieve maximum benefits, it should be something you commit to doing at least 10 minutes a day. This way your brain makes its way to a permanent change, and mindfulness becomes not only a habit, but a way of life.
Mindfulness in the Workplace
Encouraging employees to be mindful and incorporating mindfulness into your workplace culture and wellness program can have numerous positive effects for the entire organization. Positive Psychology cites numerous studies conducted over the past few years that prove mindfulness has the following effects on the workforce:
- Reduced work-related stress: Studies show that even after a few mindfulness classes, employees began to feel less stress, less fatigue, and less psychological distress. They were even able to more effectively manage work tasks.
- Improved job satisfaction: Directly related to feeling less work-related stress, employees feel more satisfied with their job when they practice mindfulness.
- Less burnout: When employees practice mindfulness, they are more aware of the present moment. This means they are more productive and more aware of their limits. They know when to take a mental break and they are tuned into their physical needs. All of which helps to prevent burnout.
- Lower turnover rates: In one 2014 study, Dane and Brummel discovered that employees who are encouraged to practice mindfulness at work are less likely to leave their jobs for any reason.