What is mindfulness?

Definition and miscellaneous

Especially companies profit from mindfulness-based practices. These practices are easily integrable into everyday work and induce sustained effects on the general wellbeing. Studies on this matter prove that mindfulness programs lift personal endurance resources. Further, they increase happiness and concentration as well as enhancing the cooperation of employees.

Mindfulness refers to mentally focussing on the present moment. People are verifiably happier when concentrating on their actual activity rather than being stuck with neutral or even pleasant thoughts. Indulging in thoughts about past and future, wishes and fears may correspond directly with concentration problems. Procrastination in turn results in lesser productivity and even affects the mental state.

According to studies, employees interrupt their current task every 8 minutes for 5 minutes of distracting activities.

This leads to up to 37 interruptions per working day (round about 3 hours, if the employee works an 8-hour shift).

Adding to that is the time needed for the recovery of concentration. All of that devours time and energy and accounts for higher levels of stress. Practicing mindfulness sharpens focus and working memory and lays the ground for more efficiency at the workplace.

But Mindfulness can do even more:

Appreciation, cooperation and cohesiveness support a healthy development of one’s mind and body. However, cooperative initiatives can only be successful if people get in touch with each other. A deep connection relies on people having a trusting relationship. In fact, solidarity and trust compose what one calls collective intelligence. Collective intelligence is influenced and nurtured deeply by mindfulness practices.

By involving mindfulness into every day you’re able to refine perception processes. There’s a plethora of different means and methods which promote a positive working atmosphere: mindful meetings, dialogues and feedback, reflection of one’s needs and shifts in perspective. Studies on daily life show that humans in 8 to 9 out of 10 cases do not make their own conscious decisions but rather depend on old habits and patterns. Mindfulness can change habits significantly.

An empiric study (Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory –FMI) regarding the interrelation of mindfulness practices, operating performance and motivation discovered the following effects:

• a clear improvement in awareness and orientation as well as a significant optimization of executive control functions

• a significant decrease in negative emotions and states of mind such as tension, worries and mental overload

• participants felt more present and mentally awake and were more willing to accept external circumstances as well as their own emotions

• a minimization of burnout risks

• a decrease in perceived overload

• improved stress management

• more joy while working and a more positive attitude towards new challenges

• an increase of interaction with the social environment eventually leading to enhanced abilities of working in a team

After eight weeks of mindfulness training, all participants showed better cardiovascular adaptation. The cardiovascular system therefore controls more flexible reactions to emotional impulses from outside and inside. The dynamics, i.e. the speed to bring the organism to rest, could also be significantly improved. The participants of this eight-week mindfulness training in a company context showed an improved adaptability of the body, whereby the handling of stressful situations and challenges could be optimized. This was demonstrated with biochemical measurements of stress biomarkers such as cortisol before, during and after the program.