The Need for Mindfulness in the Workplace

Why is the term, “Mindfulness,” grafting itself more and more into the common vocabulary of the American worker? That can be answered in one word.

Stress.

To give you a snapshot at just how bad stress affects Americans, take a look at this infographic inspired by the American Institute of Stress and designed by MastersDegreeOnline.org.

Selena Wilson Stress Effects

This infographic is not meant to debilitate you with fear (or furthermore, stress), but it is meant to show the reality of how much humans need to focus on reducing and managing stress. Even those at Fast Company agree that stress is a $300 billion industry. It’s clearly time for a change.

Let’s first take a step back and discover why mindfulness has an inverted relation to stress and how it has affected workplaces who make room for it.

Spiritual Origins

Originating in Eastern philosophies that are thousands of years old, mindfulness has finally made its way into the Western train of thought. Mindfulness, once known as a deeply spiritual practice in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, is now becoming a part of common lingo amongst office members and human resource professionals. Mindfulness today looks much different than what the early founders of some Eastern religions created thousands of years ago, but it still holds a common purpose found today in its practices:

Remain present,
fully aware of yourself and your surroundings,
while also slowing down cognitive processes towards relaxation.

Why is this trend happening, though?

Office Impact

According to Beatriz Arantes of Fast Company, a company called Steelcase conducted a study, lasting twenty-four months. It researched the how it is possible to make employees, “productive, collaborative, and creative.” Its findings were not so surprising. In order for employees to harness these three characteristics, management teams need to focus on the “emotional and cognitive” well being of employees, as well as, “physical health.” One of the primary focuses management teams should have in confronting the mental and emotional health of employees is to implement company-wide mindfulness practices.

Beatriz states that mindfulness in the workplace looks like this:

  • “Create spaces that help people connect with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye, not just through their technology devices,
  • “Design areas that allow workers to control their sensory stimulation,
  • “Offer places that are calming, through the materials, textures, colors, lighting, and views, [and]
  • “Create areas where people can connect with others without distractions.”

Growing Popularity

As stress has unfortunately been increasingly popular these days, mindfulness has been ever-increasing as a Western trend. The statistics don’t lie. According to Joe Burton of the Huffington Post, “There’s an abundance of research showing that stress is on the rise, as well as being the leading cause of most major diseases. Likewise, the scientific community is producing over eighty studies a month correlating the benefits of mindfulness across a wide array of health and performance benefits. And so mindfulness is on the rise.” Google has even seen mindfulness trending, too, and for quite some time. Below, see how the keyword “Mindfulness” has grown in the search results since 2004.

Selena Wilson Google Trends Mindfulness

Furthermore, the United States is thirteenth in the world for searching the term, “Mindfulness.” Clearly, something important is happening here.

Now that you know how mindfulness powerfully impacts the American worker, it is time to find a way to make mindfulness a part of daily life in your workplace. Talk to your Human Resources Director about starting your own mindfulness program today.

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