Mindfulness at work
Mindfulness: a technique to boost your performance
Mindfulness is the meditation of the 21st century. It is the perfect relaxation technique to increase your well-being at work. It reduces stress and anxiety levels, improves concentration and generates effects that have a positive impact on organisation and productivity. Read all about it...
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness stems from Buddhism and especially vipassana, a form of meditation that originated in India. It is a non-denominational, standardised relaxation technique that should be practised for 30 minutes a day, sitting in silence and at between 18-25ºC to boost empathy and confidence, among other benefits.
The term mindfulness means "consciousness, attention and remembrance". It connects us to the continuous present, to the here and now. It makes us aware of every second that passes, through attention and full consciousness.
With mindfulness we become observers in the moment. We are present without qualifiers, simply accepting what we experience at every moment: thoughts, emotions, sensations, external stimuli, etc. We do not judge them, we only pay attention to them, and in doing so we acquire awareness of the present.
In 2018, the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom revealed findings such as 40% less stress and 58% less anxiety in people who attend courses on mindfulness. And these effects last for between three and six months after the end of the course.
Most frequent techniques
In the 70s, the University of Massachusetts, who are pioneers in this technique, developed a programme called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, which combined two types of training:
- Formal practice: occurs when we stop in order to meditate. We control our breathing, relax and look inwards. We acknowledge our emotions and thoughts, and let them go without judging or setting them aside. It is a complex method - mastering it requires time and a theoretical knowledge of mindfulness.
- Informal practice: focuses attention on everyday actions. There is no need to stop and meditate. All it involves is putting all your senses into everything you do: taking a shower, having breakfast, walking, etc. It is about living in the here and now through every action you carry out during the day.
This type of training that people still practice today produces positive effects such as:
- Less stress, anxiety and insomnia.
- An enhanced perspective and understanding of others.
- Better concentration and memory.
- Greater emotional intelligence.
- Healthier interpersonal relationships.
- More creativity.
How to practice mindfulness at work
A little mindfulness at work will suffice to improve your work well-being. Take advantage of a break, breakfast or lunch time and...
- Sit back in your chair. Relax your shoulders, rest your feet on the floor and rest your hands on your lap.
- Close your eyes or stare down at the floor. Count for three minutes and put your stopwatch on just before you start.
- Focus on your bodily sensations. Feel your points of contact with your chair and the floor.
- Focus on your breathing. Breathe naturally without thinking about it. Simply focus on how you feel when you breathe in and out.
- Let your thoughts flow freely. Embrace them without question.
- Gently go back to focusing on your breathing.
- After three minutes, think about your bodily sensation again and being in contact with your chair and the floor. Zone back in little by little to take in the rest of the room.
- Slowly recover consciousness and open your eyes.
and rational decisions more quickly.
and labour unrest.
Iberdrola and labour well-being
The Iberdrola group is a clear example of how a large company can successfully improve the well-being of its employees through mindfulness. Since the beginning of 2018, the company has already conducted eight courses on these relaxation techniques involving 800 workers. Adding the 400 employees who attended these seminars in 2017, plus 400 more who are expected to attend the four courses scheduled between now and December, the total number will stand at around 1,600 attendees in just eighteen months.
The results obtained have proven to be very positive and almost all the people who have done it would recommend this course to their family or colleagues.