There’s an old episode of the comedy classic “Seinfeld” where George Costanza’s dad is supposed to repeat the mantra “serenity now” whenever he gets stressed out at work. This evolves into a running joke that has the elder Costanza yelling “Serenity now! Serenity now!” whenever he’s upset—the vocal equivalent of violent yoga or rage-filled mindfulness. (Cue audience laughter.) However, while dear old Frank may have skewered the notion of induced calm and mental revitalization at the office in the late ‘90s, much has changed since then. Nowadays, meditation in the workplace is pretty much accepted.
And why not? A calm and “centered” workforce yields more innovation and higher productivity. For instance, Apple allows employees 30 minutes of meditation time per day. Google has a “Search Inside Yourself” mindfulness course for its employees. Nike provides onsite meditation and yoga classes. It is not surprising that a growing number of companies are incorporating mindfulness courses and meditation in the workplace as part of their employee wellness programs.
Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace
Some see meditation in the workplace as a fad (like replacing office chairs with exercise balls or hot desking) that will eventually fade. But the benefits of meditation in the workplace are both rewarding and far-reaching. For example…
Meditation helps sweep mental clutter.
You can free-up more mental space by clearing your mind of unnecessary thoughts. With more mental space, you can have more room to hatch new and innovative ideas.
Meditation can help communicate better.
At times, ideas can get tangled inside your head. Achieving mental clarity through meditation can help structure thoughts effectively. With a more organized thought process, it is easier to express your ideas.
Meditation helps in making better decisions.
With improved focus, you can tune out the noise, zoom in on the relevant details of a problem and make better decisions.
Meditation can help maintain a calm and positive disposition.
A few minutes of stillness can work wonders in maintaining a calm and positive disposition at work. With positivity and composure, work relationships are stronger, and teams are more cohesive.
Meditation can help in managing stress.
Failure to manage workplace stress can cause spill-over to other areas of your life. This can impact relationships, health, and overall well-being. Meditating—even for just a few minutes every day—lowers stress and boosts the immune system.
Seize the Day: Let Meditation Show You the Way
With all the benefits mindfulness and meditation in the workplace can offer, it is certainly worth a try. Here are some tips on how to start:
- Begin by checking if a mental wellness program is being offered. The company may even have special interest groups focused on meditation and mindfulness practices.
- Create a workspace that spells serenity and tranquility. Spruce up your workstation with a few Zen touches—an indoor plant, a framed mantra, or calming scents.
- To further help you in practicing meditation in the workplace, there are a number of guided meditation apps available in the market.
- Practicing meditation requires commitment. Designate a specific time to meditate and stick to it. Doing this will allow you to develop a habit of mindfulness and practice meditation in the workplace.
Stress is a growing health concern. In a study conducted by Gallup in 2017, eight out of ten American adults reported feeling stressed during their day. The same research identified work as one of the major sources of stress. Amidst the flurry of activities—emails, deadlines, reports, and meetings—a few minutes of silence can go a long way.