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Being Mindful of Mindfulness

October 7, 2015 / Uncategorized

MeditationWhether it’s rushing to get the kids out the front door in time to catch the bus or leaving one meeting to quickly rush to make the next, employees’ days are hectic and it’s leaving your people feeling stressed out.

There are plenty of options out there to help employees find a balance, and it usually comes down to choosing the most financially viable program. One cost-conscious and proven option? Meditation.

This sadly oft-perceived hippie-dippie approach to well-being not only gets your employees recharged, but it also opens up a host of other benefits to get their creative juices flowing, too. And a quick look at the numbers say that you (and your business) can’t afford to ignore this pressing employee need.

Employees (and Businesses) are at Their Wit’s End

If left unchecked, it’s only inevitable that your top talent – those driven, determined, and creative individuals at all levels of your organization – will begin burning the candle at both ends.

In fact, 64 percent of employees identify as having high levels of stress and feeling extremely fatigued and out of control. These stressed out employees are also costing businesses $300 billion, and have an uptick of 46 percent in healthcare costs.

OK, that’s overwhelming. But before you start getting stressed out yourself, breath your first of many future deep breaths. Meditation can get those numbers trending in the opposite direction.

Meditation Meets Science

The University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness – which already sounds like the calmest place this side of the pond – conducted a 2011 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program using magnetic resonance images of the brain. And the results raise an eyebrow or two:

  • – Lowered stress and anxiety through decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala (that’s the part of the brain responsible for anxiety and stress)
  • – Improved learning and memory through increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus (which accounts for the memory and spatial navigation part of the brain)
  • – Improved self-awareness, compassion and introspection through increased structures in the hippocampus grey-matter

“It is fascinating… that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” said Britta Holzel, first author of the paper and a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany.

So all this zen-talk is great, but how can your employees directly benefit from it? It’s no secret that there’s a 70 percent reduction in anxiety witnessed among study participants who trained in meditation. And unleashing creativity and performance are both bi-products of the experience.

Get proactive by offering meditation classes in the workplace or recommending apps that help guide employees through deep breathing techniques. Which spaces need dedicating in the workplace? Anywhere from a quiet office room to an onsite gym will suffice.

By better managing stress levels, employees can return to their work feeling refocused and recharged. What better way to approach the workday, right?

Looking for more ways to help recharge your workforce? Read “A Little Time Away: How Relaxing & Recharging Drives Productivity” to learn how certain practices around PTO can help employees put their best foot forward in the workplace.

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