Mindfulness has become the latest buzzword in Western Culture, particularly in leadership. It has, however, been part of Eastern philosophies like Buddhism for thousands of years. There are numerous definitions but, in general, mindfulness means bringing 100% presence and non-judgmental consciousness to the present moment to what is being truly experienced in that moment. “Consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience, with openness, interest, and receptiveness” (Harris, 2007).
There are three main components about mindfulness that stand apart from regular focused thinking:
- It means observation WITHOUT our ego and programming (thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, previous experience, meanings and associations etc.). True mindfulness is not thinking, but allowing thoughts to come and go and instead to bring consciousness back to focus and a deep observational experience.
- Non-judgemental means not using our programs to interpret the experience and judge it e.g. good, bad, neutral. Instead, noticing from a position of openness and curiosity, and accepting what is happening in the moment e.g. I have a throbbing sensation in my solar plexus.
- Mindfulness is an awareness it is not thinking. Awareness involves observing and noticing an experience in the present moment, as opposed to getting caught up in thoughts.
Why should we care?
As business leaders, some of the major benefits of mindfulness are:
- Bringing more awareness of yourself and therefore deeply enhancing your self-knowledge and self-awareness, which are the cornerstones of strong emotional intelligence.
- Developing your behavioural and emotional responses to situations.
- Develop better memory capacity and ability to focus.
- Improve your relationships, empathy and communication.
- Improve team dynamics.
- Mindfulness interventions have been shown, through numerous neuroscience research studies, to be beneficial for a wide range of psychological and physical conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, personality disorders, and addictions.
- Enabling you to connect in a stronger and deeper way with yourself and those around you, developing strong emotional intelligence muscle.
- There is also strong evidence to suggest that mindfulness also improves creativity and innovation.
Want to learn mindfulness? Want to reduce stress in your team? We offer a wide range of in-company programs. We can help!
Some relevant research: