Work absorbs a large part of our adult lives, and well-being at work influences daily well-being in the other dimensions of human life. In this sense, improving work well-being, work satisfaction, and happiness at work contributes to improving our lives in general.
Nowadays, we are faced with a multiplicity of stimuli in the workplace, often dealing with multiple tasks simultaneously. While performing activities within our competence, we are often confronted with multiple tasks, and we are also called upon to respond to unforeseen events and communicate with colleagues, supervisors, and clients, which combine into a set of simultaneous requests that make it difficult for us to concentrate on the established goals and which may lead to deviations from our objectives.
Therefore, it is imperative that we equip ourselves with strategies and resources that help us deal with stress and anxiety, cope with difficult and burdensome situations, cognitive fatigue, the perception of a lack of resources to cope with situations, and negative feelings, among others.
Therefore, it is crucial to develop coping strategies and resources to deal with stress and anxiety, face difficult and burdensome situations, cognitive fatigue, the perception of a lack of resources to deal with complex situations, and negative feelings, among others.
The practice of mindfulness at work can be a powerful strategy to improve the physical and psychological well-being of workers, improving individual performance and influencing the improvement of organizational productivity.
It consists of a practice of giving full attention to the present moment, which helps us to focus on our current thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and redirect ourselves towards a state of mental balance, through the self-control of thoughts and self-regulation of emotions, creating a mental space to work, even in adverse conditions. It is about becoming aware of bodily and psychosomatic sensations, thoughts, and emotions, yet not responding impulsively and according to habitual patterns, thus allowing oneself to make more conscious and innovative decisions, and to give more functional responses.
However, this practice requires training; results will come with experience. To have effective results at the organizational level requires the involvement and support of organizational management and leadership.
Mindfulness practice in the workplace has benefits for individuals, work teams, and leadership processes, and at the organizational level as a whole; it can be trained through personal, relational, and social practices, in addition to meditation and contemplation (Chaskalson, M., 2011; Sutcliffe, K. M., Vogus, T. J. & Dane, E., 2016).
In “The Mindful Workplace”, Michael Chaskalson (2011) reports that the regular practice of mindfulness has been shown to improve the attention, productivity, and satisfaction of its practitioners. The activation of the left pre-frontal cortex facilitates leadership practices oriented towards greater proximity with people, makes leaders more welcoming, tolerant, open and close, curious, and able to attract and amplify the qualities of those around them. At the organizational level, the author provides some case studies of organizations that have implemented the practice of mindfulness.
David Gelles (2015) highlights inspiring insights from the Dalai Lama, high-level managers at Fortune 500 companies, as well as Google employees, based on the practice of mindfulness.
Recently, Margaret Chapman-Clarke (2016), shows how mindfulness can be used as a strategy in change management processes and organizational development and evolution, drawing on findings from neuroscience and behavioral sciences.
Benefits of mindfulness practice at work
- Helps us to focus our attention on what we are doing, leaving aside the hyper-stimulation of the environment and dispersion by other tasks and external and internal stimuli.
- Helps us to cope better with stress and pressure, and to take advantage of healthy levels of activation that drive us towards the achievement of goals and objectives.
- Improves self-confidence and self-focus to set boundaries and anticipate opportunities.
- It allows us to amplify positive feelings and emotions, improving relationships with colleagues and relativizing what bothers us or what we cannot change.
- Improves co-operation and collaboration between colleagues.
- Improves resilience and acceptance of what we cannot control.
- We will feel more autonomy to act and to control situations.
- Contributes to greater mental clarity, making us more agile when it comes to reacting, having ideas, and getting more out of situations.
- It contributes to improving our creativity and innovation for problem solving and openness to new concepts and practices.
Chapman-Clarke, M. (2016). Mindfulness in the Workplace: An Evidence-based Approach to Improving Wellbeing and Maximizing Performance. Kogen Page Ltd.
Chaskalson, M. (2011). The Mindful Workplace: Developing Resilient Individuals and Resonant Organizations with MBSR. John Wiley & Sons, Lda.
Gelles, D. (2015). Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out. Eamon Dolan.
Sutcliffe, K. M., Vogus, T. J. & Dane, E. (2016). Mindfulness in organisations: A Cross-Level Review. Annual Review of organisational Psychology and organisational Behavior,3, 55-81.
This article was written in April 2022 by Célia Nunes, graduate in psychology, on behalf of EPRALIMA_Escola Profissional do Alto Lima, CIPRL