In a world where productivity is the measure of success, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and forget about our own wellbeing. But what if we told you that taking a few minutes every day to meditate could actually help improve your productivity, reduce your stress levels, and boost your overall wellbeing? Meditation at work or at any place is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has been scientifically proven to have many benefits for the mind and body.
Why do we meditate and how did it all start?
Firstly, let’s clear up any misconceptions about meditation. It’s not just for monks in remote monasteries. Meditation is simply a mental exercise that helps you focus and become more aware of your thoughts and surroundings. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. To give a simple example, find a quiet place to sit or stand, and set a timer for five minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, paying attention to the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nostrils. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath. After five minutes, open your eyes and take a moment to notice how you feel. This quick meditation can help clear your mind and provide a sense of calm in the midst of a busy workday. As with anything, practice and discipline is needed to reap lasting benefits from your mediation practice. We will share a few ideas on how to help your colleagues to do that a bit later.
In the past, meditation was mainly associated with spiritual practices, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. However, in the 20th century, meditation was introduced to Western culture by Indian teachers such as Swami Vivekananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This led to the creation of various forms of meditation, including Transcendental Meditation (TM), which gained widespread popularity in the 1960s and 70s. Today, there are countless types of meditation, from mindfulness and loving-kindness to mantra and visualization. One possible explanation for the increasing popularity of meditation is our constant exposure to technology and the fast pace of modern life, including stress and permanent availability at the workplace. Meditation provides an opportunity for us to slow down, disconnect from our screens, and find peace and clarity in the present moment. According to a 2017 survey by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, over 14% of adults in the US practiced meditation in the past 12 months. This number is likely to be even higher today, as more and more people are recognizing the benefits of meditation.
How meditation at work impacts your bottom line
So, what are these benefits? Regular meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and memory, increase creativity, and even boost the immune system. Studies have also found that meditation can help prevent or manage work-related diseases such as burnout, depression, and high blood pressure. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that employees who participated in a workplace meditation program reported lower levels of stress and higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement.
Some ideas on how to get your workforce to meditate
So how can you bring meditation to your workforce without adding additional stresses to your already busy schedule? Good news: implementing a meditation program in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. One simple idea is to encourage your leadership team to start important meetings with a 3-minute meditation to help everyone clear their minds and focus on the task at hand. Create a simple outline with the instructions or a one pager and you already made an impact! Another idea would be to celebrate World Meditation Day on May 21st with a special event around the topic of mental health and meditation. You could also give financial assistance to your employees in offering a subscription to a mediation app such as Calm or Headspace. If you want to GO a step further, we at atlasGO are happy to help you implement a customized meditation or mental health Challenge for your employees to practice together. We not only offer in-app guided meditations and mental health challenges, our app also helps you to build community and engagement around the topic of meditation and wellbeing at work in general. With atlasGO, you can even consider incorporating a charitable component, such as planting a tree or supporting a nonprofit for every hour of meditation completed. Reach out to us for a demo or just ask us a question.
Meditation is a simple yet powerful tool that can improve employee wellbeing, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. As HR and wellbeing professionals, it’s our responsibility to promote healthy habits in the workplace, and meditation is a great place to start. So, how many hours of meditation can your employees do together within a month or a year? Let’s find out together!
Written by Olivier Kaeser
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