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How Bringing Mindfulness to the Workplace Will Benefit Your Business

I don't know if you've noticed, but the concept of mindfulness has been popping up everywhere. It's being used by NFL teams, universities, Fortune 500 companies, and of course, Google.

At it's core, mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. Being tuned in to where you are, what you're doing, and who you are with ... NOW. Most of us spend our time in our own heads, listening to the chatter of our minds. We are either worrying about the past or thinking about the future. Typically we don't even realize that, mentally, we are everywhere except the here and now.

You might be wondering what this has to do with your business.

Think about this for a moment... When you are fully present and focused on the situation at hand, you are more engaged with your surroundings. Here are some areas that benefit from being mindful:

Communication. Being fully engaged in a conversation allows you to communicate your message better. The more effectively you listen to the other person talking, the better your can understand eachother and create a clear channel to communicate.

Problem Solving. Being fully present results in increased clarity in your thoughts. By focusing on the situation at hand, you create mental space that allows you to come up with creative solutions. This space also allows you to distance yourself from reflexive, often distracting emotions that could come into play in decision-making. You can then choose to be proactive, rather than reactive from emotions that cloud your brainpower.

Stress Reduction. When you're focused on the now, your mind does not have the ability to, at the same time, be worried about future or past issues. Being present helps you to remain calm in the face of any issues or "problems" you may be facing.

Here are 3 easy ways to integrate mindfulness into your day:

1. Breathing Meditation. You can start with once a day, but I suggest building in little breathing meditations throughout your day. First, sit up straight with your feet planted firmly on the ground and close your eyes. Relax into your body and start to focus on your breath. Focus on what it feels and sounds like to breathe. Practice this for anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. Every little bit counts.

2. Mindful Listening. The next time you're in coversation with someone, really focus on being present. Rather than think of what you're about to say next, really listen to what they're saying. In the words of Stephen Covey, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

3. Get Outside. Take a break once a day and go outside. Leave your phone inside. If you can, take a short walk around the block. Focus on your surroundings using all your senses. What sounds do you hear? What does the air feel like? What's the temperature? What do you see? What does the ground feel like beneath your feet? Feel appreciation for your ability to walk around - many people aren't that lucky.

I liken practicing mindfulness to going to the gym. After a good workout, your muscles are not visibly bigger, but after time you see results. Similarly, the effects of mindfulness accumulate over time. Even 30 seconds a day will create change.

If you need some reinforcement, here's a link to Huffington Post's article, about 10 influential business leaders who credit meditation to their success.

And, if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, please share it!

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