The power of living in the moment is often overlooked – and that is why it will benefit you personally and professionally to take time each day to be present. I’d like to talk about the value of mindfulness to your business.
In my life, I have found that I am the most productive when I nurture my mind, body and spirit. This includes being physically active, eating healthfully, and practicing mindfulness. Most of us are familiar with what it means to be physically active and eat a nutritious diet, but mindfulness is not as well known. Let’s take a minute to understand what mindfulness is and how it can impact our lives and businesses.
I recently watched a 60-minutes episode on mindfulness and it led me to consider how living a healthy lifestyle can impact our productivity as business leaders. Jon Kabat-Zinn, an internationally known meditation teacher, author and researcher spoke throughout the episode on mindfulness:
“There are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means is awareness. It means being present now.”
Mindfulness is not a new concept, but its positive impact is becoming extremely evident. Case studies conducted by the American Institute of Health, the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University have found that practicing mindfulness actually improves all of the following:
The Culprit: Technology
It is rare that we are actually present where we are and Kabat-Zinn suggests that technology is the main reason for this. Take a moment to consider the following statistics:
- The average American checks his/her smartphone close to 150 times per day
- 50% of Americans sleep with their smartphones right next to them
- 84% of Americans say they cannot go an entire day without their smartphones
I definitely check my phone constantly throughout the day and it takes a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time. While it is necessary to be accessible in today’s business word, it is also necessary to time to disconnect and focus on the here and now.
Ironically, the companies that create the technology that distracts us incorporate mindfulness into their corporate cultures. Facebook, Apple and Google have all found creative ways to make mindfulness a priority.
Google actually has a Head of Mindfulness whose job description is to enlighten minds, open hearts, and create world peace! Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s current Head of Mindfulness shares his thoughts on his role:
“If you are a company leader who says employees should be encouraged to exercise, nobody looks at you funny,” Tan says. “The same thing is happening to meditation and mindfulness, because now that it’s become scientific, it has been demystified. It’s going to be seen as fitness for the mind.”
Google frequently starts meetings with several minutes of silence. This gives employees a chance to rid their minds of distractions and focus on the meeting at hand. Employees have noticed that these meetings are typically more productive. Do you think that taking a few minutes to clear your mind before an important meeting would be beneficial? It is certainly worth a try.
How can improve your productivity, creativity, and concentration through mindfulness? Check back next week for some tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle. In the meanwhile, consider Jon Kabat-Zinn’s advice:
“Mindfulness is not something that you should start doing – if that is what you are thinking, you are missing the point. Mindfulness is not about doing; it is about being. It is a state of mind.”
If you would like to see the full 60-minutes episode on mindfulness, check it out here.