The workplace has changed dramatically in recent years. For many people, working under pressure has become the norm. An endless to-do list, tight deadlines, uncertainty, conflicting demands, constant interruption and distractions.
The majority deal with this using a push through approach – they put the head down, and try to work faster, longer, harder to get it all done. And it doesn’t necessarily finish at the end of the workday; technology and the 24/7 timeline means many people bring work home.
This overload might work in the short-term but is not sustainable in the long term – eventually stress, illness and burnout are the inevitable results. About 80% of doctors visits are stress related and stress contributes hugely to absenteeism which is costing Irish employers over €1 billion, not to mention the cost of presenteeism (harder to measure and even more costly).
Thousands of studies have established that Mindfulness Training supports peoples’ health & well-being, giving them tools to navigate difficult situations with more ease; as well as build resilience for working in high-pressure environments.
Benefits of Mindfulness at Work – at the workplace
- More employee engagement
- Less stress, tension, anxiety and fatigue
- Better communication / collaborative working
- Sharpened focus, attention span, memory retention, executive functioning
- Lowering of irritability, conflict and disputes
- Greater decision making skill and resilience in dealing with pressure
- Boost to creativity, problem solving and performance
- Improved wellbeing, vitality, optimism and job fulfillment.
Research shows that even a short period of Mindfulness Training benefits the brain, which grows denser gray matter in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking. At the same time, the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear and stress is down-regulated.
Benefits of Mindfulness at Work – to the employee’s health
- Stronger heart, lower blood pressure
- A better immune system function
- Less frequency and duration of illness
- Fights inflammation, gastrointestinal difficulties and asthma
- Less depression, mood disorders, anxiety
- Improves sleep, eating, digestion, exercise habits.
This post was written by Joanne O’Malley and it was first published at Mindfulness at Work.