What is mindfulness in the first place? Mindfulness is defined as a state of active, open attention on the present. When a person is mindful, he/she is fully aware of their feelings and thoughts and accepts all of them. Mindfulness allows us to live in the moment and be aware of everything we experience rather than letting life pass us by. Benefits one can achieve by being mindful are numerous including career success. Let’s take a look at ten reasons why mindfulness makes you more successful at work.
One of the most common problems we face every day at work is a lack of focus and concentration. Tons of things to do, tasks to complete and your mind keeps wandering. As a result, only a small portion of pending assignments is finalized. Productivity suffers due to lack of focus, but mindfulness can help.
A study whose findings were published in the Journal of Management revealed that a practice of mindfulness improves focus and three qualities of attention: control, stability, and efficiency. The human mind wanders about half of our working hours, but mindfulness works to stabilize attention in the present. When you’re aware of the present and strive to be more mindful, the mind-wandering decreases thus improving focus.
One research study discovered that individuals who practiced meditation stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches. Plus, they also reported less negative emotions after tasks they performed.
More effective communication
Success at work doesn’t revolve around productivity only, but interpersonal relationships too. We take communication with other people at the workplace for granted. It is not enough to say hello or goodbye and pretend to listen to what other people say in the meantime. Healthy communication ensures the productivity of the entire department or office. When interpersonal skills among people are strong, they collaborate more efficiently.
Evidence shows that mindfulness has a positive impact on the overall communication process, social skills, communicative coping, and reappraisals. Mindfulness improves communication because it clears your head of the other thoughts and allows you to be fully engaged in the conversation. It is also useful to mention that a study from the Communication Research found that mindfulness plays a role in empathy and active listening, both factors essential for interpersonal skills at work as well.
Prevalence of manic depression and other mood disorders is high in the US and worldwide. These mental health problems don’t stay at home when a person leaves for work; they don’t work like that. Depression, anxiety and other problems have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, which includes their career too.
According to the Mental Health America, depression is as costly as AIDS or heart disease to the US economy costing more than $51 billion in absenteeism from work and impaired productivity, and $26 billion in direct treatment cost. Moreover, 3% of all short-term disability days account for depressive disorders and 76% of those cases involved female employees.
A growing body of evidence confirms that mindfulness shows tremendous potential for treating anxiety and depression. Not only that, a study from the Lancet discovered mindfulness is as effective as antidepressants for treatment of depression.
Improved decision making
We are bound to make bad decisions at one point or another, it is impossible to go through life without making any mistake. That being said, some mistakes can be prevented with proper decision making. Better focus, enhanced awareness, and control over your emotions allow you to improve the quality of decisions you make to reduce the risk of mistakes based on poor judgment.
One study found that 15-minute focused-breathing mindfulness meditation can help people make smarter choices. Scientists discovered that mindfulness meditation encourages us to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment and ignoring some other concerns. It’s not uncommon for us to focus on some unrealistic concerns or fail to think about some issue clear-headed, both of which affect our ability to make logical decisions.
The more participants practiced mindfulness, the more they focused on the present when making their decisions. The research team concluded the study explaining that mindfulness influences emotions and behaviors and employees can use it to perform better and make smarter decisions.
To become more successful at what you do, it is important to learn how to organize yourself. Too many assignments and too little time don’t allow you to do absolutely everything during the workday or a certain period of time. The only solution here is to learn how to prioritize tasks and focus on the urgent ones first and others later.
In fact, subconsciously or consciously you prioritize or act on what you think you should be doing. The role of mindfulness here is that it helps you develop these skills and enables you to become more intentional about things that are important or tasks that have to be prioritized over the others.
Being entirely aware of the present helps you align daily tasks and goals to get more things done without getting stressed out. When you don’t prioritize, it becomes difficult to perform certain tasks, stress levels increase, and you don’t perform as well as you usually do.
Let’s face it, good health is always important regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish. Evidence shows that mindfulness is highly beneficial for our immune system. Being mindful can reduce specific markers of inflammation, address cell-mediated immunity and biological aging.
What’s more, a study whose findings were presented at the European Congress on Obesity in May 2017 found that mindfulness can also aid weight loss. This discovery is significant because overweight and obesity are risk factors for numerous diseases and health conditions. It is needless to say that health problems take their toll on your work.
In addition, weight loss boosts your confidence which allows you to take the initiative at work, do better, pitch ideas without fear, and so much more. Mindfulness can make it happen so use it a strategy that complements weight loss exercises. Here, mindfulness can be incorporated as a part of meditation, and you should also be mindful of things you eat.
Deal with criticism
Nobody likes to receive a negative feedback or to be criticized at work, but these things do happen. One thing we fail to realize is that criticism doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. In many cases, we receive a constructive criticism but consider it as some sort of an attack on us and our performance. In those situations, we respond with anger, fury, frustration, and our confidence plummets.
Mindfulness, i.e. being aware of the present allows you to ground yourself, realize the true meaning behind the negative feedback and respond in an adequate and professional manner. Take a deep breath, slow down, listen carefully, process the information, and then come up with a response.
A major benefit of mindfulness is that it can help you improve emotional intelligence, which is crucial for career success. Individuals with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful primarily because they know how to balance different tasks, work, and life, and they aren’t obsessed with perfectionism.
Emotional intelligence is also a sign of being able to adapt to change, develop empathy, and being fully aware of both strengths and weaknesses. Studies find that higher levels of mindfulness are strongly related to greater emotional intelligence, positive affect, and life satisfaction.
Struggling to come up with ideas for your current project? Creativity has its highs and lows. Sometimes you have no problem generating creative ideas while in other instances it’s a struggle. Mindfulness has the tremendous potential to improve creativity, which is yet another reason why you should give it a try. According to a study whose findings were published in the journal Mindfulness, some meditation techniques can help improve creativity even if a person has never meditated before.
A common scenario that happens at every workplace is when a person firmly believes he/she is right and automatically rejects someone else’s ideas. Not only that, you refuse to try some other approach when working on a project because you assume it won’t work. Examples are numerous, and they all point out to a major problem – closed-mindedness. Fortunately, mindfulness helps you become more open-minded. Be aware of the moment, take some time to consider different approaches, and evaluate possible solutions. Before you reject something, evaluate it and see whether it can work.
Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of the present and acknowledging your emotions and thoughts. This practice goes hand in hand with meditation, helps relieve stress, and does wonders for every aspect of your life. Mindfulness can benefit your career through improved creativity, more confidence, open-mindedness, better focus and communication skills.
About the Author
Ben Arnold is a freelance writer and a health adviser. He has been giving fitness advice to thousands of people all around the globe. Through his advanced studies, he has gain enormous experience in nutrition and healthy diet. His articles have a source on personal and practical experience. Apart from health, he likes reading books and listening music in free time. You can follow him on Facebook, Google +, Twitter and Pinterest