Mindfulness is the act of becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings as you go about your life each day. Most of us are pretty used to living on auto-pilot. We react to the stimulus around us with little internal analysis or questioning if our actions are even grounded in our own well being or interests.
It turns out that learning to be more “present” in our lives can have important impacts on our health. However, did you know it can also increase our productivity at work? Read on!
5 Benefits of Mindfulness Towards Productivity
The benefits of mindfulness are not just a woo woo pipe dream. In fact, the link between mindfulness and productivity has been well researched. Why else would large corporations, such as insurance giant Aetna, invest in wellness programs such as yoga classes for their employees?
Let’s take a look at just 5 productivity benefits that are backed by research:
1. Better Sleep
Sleep is one of the most well studied aspects of overall health and effects on productivity. One estimate puts the cost of sleep related productivity losses at as much as $1927 annually per employee.
The causes of poor sleep can be due to a variety of factors such as an unsupportive pillow, lack of good sleep hygiene, diet, or even disease. Serious issues such as sleep apnea may even require medical attention to resolve.
It is not a fix all, however, mindfulness can significantly improve sleep when practiced regularly.
2. Improved Focus
There is plenty of research to support the fact that mindfulness techniques, such as short but regular meditations, have a significant positive impact on our ability to hold our attention on the task we are working on.
You know the drill. Your mind is bouncing around between different thoughts: What you will have for lunch? When do you have to leave to pick up the kids? Who is still left on your holiday shopping list?
These kinds of thoughts keep us from putting our full attention on our work, more often than not, leading to mistakes and time lost to constantly switching gears.
Mindfulness teaches the brain how to hold on to the ideas that you are consciously choosing to think about. You can increase your ability to intentionally direct your mind on what you want it to rather than letting your subconscious mind, worries, random thoughts, and irrational fears run your show.
3. Reduced Stress
Although stress can certainly be caused by external circumstances that we can’t control, such as a layoff or death in the family, our ability to manage stress is critical to mental health, physical health, as well as overall productivity.
When you are stressed about a problem in your life, it can become a major distraction from your work. In addition, the side effects of carrying too much stress around with you include increased levels of sickness and injury. That can add up to huge losses in terms of productivity over the long run.
Learning to recognize your thinking and become more intentional about where you will put your energy is has significant benefits when it comes to making the stress in your life more manageable.
4. Boost Creativity
Our ability to problem-solve on the job is related to our ability to be creative and see a solution that may not be readily apparent. Certain kinds of meditation, such as becoming more aware of your thoughts and feelings (without attempting to impact them) have been shown to improve creative thinking.
Next time you are stuck with a problem that you can’t find a solution for, try a mini-meditation to see if a creative idea that fits the bill comes into your mind.
5. Increased Teamwork
When people are more aware of their thoughts and feelings in the moment, they can make better decisions, be more personally accountable, and share better empathy with other people’s point of view. These kinds of qualities improve team cooperation, communication and coordination.
In addition, being more self-aware can make us less reactive to those around us, even when they are behaving badly. This kind of personal attribute can be a tremendous benefit to group dynamics and conflict resolution.
No wonder mindfulness is one of the latest trends among teambuilding experts! Whether practiced by individuals in the team, or as part of warm up group exercises, cultivating mindfulness can improve overall team productivity in significant ways.
Tips to Cultivate Mindfulness (for Busy People)
You don’t have to quit your job and take a trek to the mountains of Tibet in order to benefit from mindfulness practice. In fact, there are many different ways to incorporate mindfulness into your routine to improve your productivity.
Making mindfulness a part of your daily routine is the key to really making it work for you. For example, here are some ideas for 5 minute techniques you can incorporate into your day to day:
- Take a walk around your office building when you are feeling tired. Notice the feel of the air, the smells, sounds and other sensations that are going on around you to bring your mind to the present.
- Set your alarm to go off randomly 5 times a day. When it goes off, take 2 minutes to quiet your mind and simply jot down any thoughts or feelings you become aware of. No judgement allowed! The trick here is to just notice the thoughts/feelings and then go on with your day.
- The internet is full of 5 minute guided meditations to try. These audio recordings can guide you through the process of becoming more aware of your mind and learning to become more intentional in your daily life.
If you like the benefits of trying mindfulness on a small scale, you may find that adding yoga classes, for example, to your fitness regime gives you a chance to learn even more about the mind/body connection while you work on stretching your body and improving your breathing.
More Natural Pathways to Health
If you are interested in learning more about the many natural pathways to healing, health and wellbeing, consider booking a consultation with your Upper Cervical Chiropractor.
These specially trained doctors are tuned to the many ways that your central nervous system, in particular the neck and spine, are implicated in a host of health conditions that can erode your overall health in many ways you might even find surprising.
If you happen to reside in the Glen Carbon, Edwardsville, Maryville or greater St. Louis area, call Dr. Thad Vuagniaux of Upper Cervical Care – Glen Carbon to schedule a free consultation at (618) 692-6992. We use the latest in advanced imaging technology as well as an holistic approach to overall health to help you identify a natural path to great health.
You may be a gentle correction away from natural relief!