Many claims are made for mindfulness and meditation; practicing mindfulness is likely to ease anxiety and improve concentration. Being mindful is about paying attention to the present moment so that you become more effective and efficient in what you are doing and more at peace with yourself.
Gelong Thubten, a Tibetan Buddhist monk for more than 20 years, says that the main benefit it can bring to your career is that it makes you a nice person.
“If you are kinder to people, you get along with them better and you do well in the world when you get along with people. They reward you and your career will go well.”
Not just a fad, mindfulness classes are offered by the NHS for mental wellbeing and schools are teaching it to help pupils stay calm and focus on their studies. Can it help in the workplace and help your career?
Stress in the workplace has been found to reduce mental ability and those who practice mindfulness may achieve more as they are more aware and “don’t miss a beat”. A 2011 study of HR staff found that those who had done an eight-week mindfulness meditation course were less likely to switch between tasks and showed improved memory.
A sense of tolerance and non-prejudice are essential for any workplace to function. Key to this approach is to have compassion for yourself as well. That sense of self-acceptance can help people when they are looking for a job and during the interview process.
“Mindfulness definitely makes people more confident, more comfortable in their own skin. They learn how to be more in control of the present moment and they come across better.”
How much meditation do you have to do to feel the benefits? Aim for 15-20 minutes a day, but try to integrate it into everyday life. You can meditate at your desk, in a meeting or going home on the tube. Connect to the present moment and de-stress.
Become more mindful
Our good friend Gladeana McMahon, co-author of Positive Psychology for Dummies, offers some tips to help:
- Take time to listen to what people are saying to you – resist the temptation think ahead and plan your response.
- Take five minutes or more a lunchtime to be quiet – go for a walk, look out of the window, be aware of your surroundings.
- Reflect on what you have achieved – at the end of each day review your activities and congratulate yourself for what you have accomplished.