Mindfulness is defined as paying careful attention to yourself, others and everything around you with greater discernment. It is about training the mind to deliberately focus on the present moment and events. Evidence from clinical studies suggests that there are indeed many benefits of a mindful lifestyle. It helps reduce stress, lowers blood pressure and improves regulation of emotions. And this has caught the attention of corporate leaders in bringing focus, credibility, and determination to leadership with added resilience, focus, and awareness to become highly effective in their jobs. So how can mindfulness benefit business? Let’s take a closer look.
How does mindfulness help
There is enough research to suggest that training yourself to be mindful of your surroundings alters your behavior patterns with respect to your surroundings, your work, colleagues, and yourself.
Self-awareness, or metacognition, as it is called scientifically, is the ability to simply observe your thoughts, feelings, and sensory perceptions. If our lives are fast flowing rivers, self-awareness allows us to step out of that flow and onto the shore to see what’s really happening in the moment. Without the ability to do this, our minds and actions get stuck in an auto-pilot mode that is extremely harmful for growth.
Acceptance is our ability to allow things that we cannot change to remain as such. It must not be confused with weakness or passiveness of any kind. On the contrary, it is the inner strength to let go of self-criticism and criticism of others that prevents us from observing the moment from a different angle.
Curiosity enables us to take an active interest in our surroundings, without which we won’t have any reason to delve deeper into awareness and stay focused on the present moment.
These seemingly innocuous results of being mindful can give you a fresh perspective on your surroundings, both people, and events, and help you reach a better understanding of the situation. When you reach that stage, your decisions become more practical as you learn to control your emotions better.
How can you become a mindful leader
It’s not a difficult task to inculcate a mindful leaderships style of your own. You will need some practice, focus, and discipline initially. Here’s what you can do for a start.
Set aside ten minutes each day
You don’t have to wait until the next morning to practice mindfulness. All you need is 10-minutes of guided training each day to begin with, and once you have made a habit of it, start practicing whenever you get the time.
Mornings are not for reading emails
Our brains are most creative, focused, and open to new ideas in the morning. Such time is best utilized in focused, strategic work, and not for reading emails. Reading emails first thing in the morning diffuses this creativity and focus and results in a more reactive leadership style than a proactive one.
Forget the notifications
Notifications sidetrack you from the task at hand and trigger a reactionary response mechanism in the brain that puts you under immense pressure in the moment. Check your messages at set intervals, instead of scrolling through your inbox as soon you receive a new one. Account for your job responsibilities while doing so, but try to let go of the compulsive habit of checking messages every minute.
Multitasking makes you extremely reactive while reduces your productivity and quality of work. One of the core principles of mindfulness is to focus on a single task at a time. Try to avoid allowing your thoughts drifting to tasks other than the one at hand and maintain complete focus on that.
Practicing mindfulness every day can help leaders identify the ideas that are important and sift them away from the riffraff. Mindful leadership is not something that will change the way business is conducted overnight. It is a process, and just like an athlete, you need to train your mind to stay focused on the moment and the task at hand. And spending a few minutes each day to train yourself to be a mindful leader is a small price to pay for the benefits it offers to your career and to your business.