Mindfulness is the practice of ‘knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.’
Put simply, it is a common type of meditation that focuses on drawing attention to how we feel and think. It involves reconnecting with your body and being truly present in whatever it is you’re doing.
There are a variety of different mindfulness exercises. An example would be mindful eating, which involves paying attention to the taste, texture and appearance of your food. Other exercises may look more like a traditional meditation session. In mindful meditation, you sit quietly and focus on your breathing, body sensations and what is going around you. This is often combined with other exercises, such as Yoga.
What are the Benefits?
Mindfulness can be useful for those suffering from stress, depression and anxiety. This isn’t just anecdotal, either.
In one study, MRI scans showed how the brain changed before and after people practised mindfulness. After practising mindfulness, the grey matter in the amygdala (the part of your brain known for its role in stress) had reduced in size.
Observations were also made in the pre-frontal cortex. This is the part of your brain responsible for planning, problem solving, and controlling your emotions. After practising mindfulness, the grey matter in this part of the brain became thicker, showing an increased amount of activity. The hippocampus, the area of your brain that helps learning and memory, had also increased in size.
This evidence means that mindfulness could massively improve stress and anxiety, and boost your mood. It can also improve your memory and problem-solving skills. This is vital if you are in an educational or work setting.
Mindfulness can also reduce pain. In this study, the area of the brain responsible for pain didn’t shrink, but the areas associated with memory and emotion were less active. This reduces the link between pain and our memories of pain. Thus, body pain could be slightly reduced by mindfulness.
The practice of specific mindfulness exercises can also be hugely beneficial. For example, Mindful eating has its own set of benefits. By eating slowly and focusing entirely on what you are eating, you could improve digestion and reduce common gastrointestinal problems, such as bloating. Further to this, eating mindfully can make it easier to recognise when you are full. This can reduce overeating and aid weight loss.
How can Mindfulness be Useful in the Workplace?
Mindfulness can improve stress management and reduce stress overtime. This improves the employee experience and increases the productivity of the workplace. By reducing the stress levels of your employees, you can reduce absenteeism and staff turnover. Employees who are better equipped to handle stress are more likely to be engaged and happy at work.
As mindfulness increases activity in the pre-frontal cortex, it improves your planning and problem-solving skills, which can make employees more efficient and improve their concentration.
The link between mindfulness and the reduction of pain may also be useful for employees experiencing long term pain, whether from chronic conditions, or from common musculoskeletal complaints that come with working at a desk. By improving the overall wellness of each employee, you can expect to see a happier, more productive workplace.
How can I Introduce Mindfulness into my Workplace?
Wellbeing in Your Office is a great place to start. They offer a range of services to promote wellness in the workplace.
They believe that anyone can benefit from mindfulness meditation, and they are passionate about helping employees implement mindfulness techniques to help them reduce stress, and experience ‘improved clarity and focus, greater resilience and greater work satisfaction’.
Wellbeing in Your Office offer a range of mindfulness services. These include classes, workshops, talks and courses, available in person and over zoom.
If you want to create a more mindful workplace, Wellbeing in Your Office are the key to helping you improve the health, wellness and experience of your employees.