While mindfulness doesn’t necessarily work the way the hype proclaims, there are some things that a good mindfulness practice can really help with. By better understanding when mindfulness is the right approach, HR and training programs can better enhance both leader performance and employee or individuals well-being.
Research studies show that there are four real benefits of mindfulness: stronger focus, staying calmer under stress, better memory, and good corporate citizenship.
There is less mind wandering and distractibility among those who practice regular mindfulness routines. Those people show better concentration, even when multi-tasking. The business implications are manifest: higher productivity and fewer conceptual gaps. As one executive described the risk of having poor focus, “When my mind wanders in a meeting I wonder what business opportunity I’ve just missed.”
Staying Calmer Under Stress
Studies have shown that those who practice meditation have a less trigger-happy amygdala. That means the brain is less likely to interpret certain inputs as threats and jump on a defense reaction — be it flight, fight, or freeze.
Consider the leader of a high-level executive team. When attending a morning group mindfulness session, the team gets along better, reacting less strongly to minor conflicts. This means they can also share information and ideas more fluently —and, at the end of the day, make more effective strategic decisions because they are able to calmly debate their differing points of view. Research on other groups has also found that people who meditate generally recover more quickly from a stressful event.
Those who practice mindfulness also show a stronger working memory — the short-term memory that registers in-the-moment thought processing. For example, with a mindfulness practice, college students’ graduate school entrance exam scores increased by 16%.
In a professional setting, this can bolster a leader’s ability to perform the complex thinking needed for strategic work, problem-solving, and even intense interactions with others. And having a less reactive amygdala means a leader stays calmer — which means more clarity.
Good Corporate Citizenship
Meditation that intentionally cultivates an attitude of kindness is often a part of a mindfulness practice. This approach has been shown to lead to more activity in brain circuits for caring, increased generosity, and a greater likelihood of helping someone in need, qualities of the best corporate citizens — and of the leaders, people prefer to work for.
In fact, many sports teams now incorporate mindfulness into their training as a way to better harmonize their playing. Meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn used to work with the Harvard and also Olympic crew teams, where team coordination and support was paramount. He would have them stand together in a circle holding hands and focusing on their breath, then get into their shell in silence and begin.
Here’s the bottom line: While you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about mindfulness, there are, indeed, payoffs from a meditation habit. In fact, the research also shows that more hours of meditation you put in over your lifetime, the better the results on the four fronts described. We could think of mindfulness as a way to enhance certain kinds of mental fitness, just as regular workouts at the gym, building physical fitness.
Source and read more; https://hbr.org/2017/09/heres-what-mindfulness-is-and-isnt-good-for