Mindfulness is not just a passing fad and a whole heap of flapdoodle for alternative, incense-burning, peppermint tea-sipping hippy types. It’s for everybody. It’s especially for people who are certain there are more deadlines than minutes in a day; who juggle family and work; and who have to remind themselves that it is, in fact, against the law to commit manslaughter in the Monday morning rush-hour traffic.
Mindfulness is (or has been) integrated business practice at many of the world’s most successful companies, including global health insurer Aetna; Intel; Novartis; JPMorgan Chase; Google; and Goldman Sachs. Mindfulness is business practice and HR practice at the world’s big blue chippers for a reason: mindful staffers are happy staffers. They’re more productive, take less sick leave and add punch to profitability.
When 13 000 Aetna employees enrolled in a (voluntary) mindfulness programme in 2015, they reported that their stress went down (by 28%) and that their sleep improved (by 20%). They each gained an average 62 minutes of productive time (worth around US$186 000 in total to the company) a week. In production environments, mindfulness among employees reduces injuries on the factory floor by around 70%.
Being mindful is really good for you. Ten minutes of mindfulness every single day ups your pain threshold by two-thirds; halves your risk of Alzheimer’s; more than halves your risk of getting cancer; and reduces your risk of heart disease by nearly 90%. Be mindful for 10 minutes a day and sleep better, digest better, be more productive, revel in an improved libido and up your energy levels.
The brilliant news is that mindfulness is easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. All it takes is resolve and 10 to 15 minutes of practice every day.
There’s a mindful opportunity in almost every moment life throws at you. It comes down to breathing and paying complete attention to what’s happening right here, right now.
At the root of mindfulness is the realisation that no matter what the circumstances, you will never have anything at all except what you have right here and right now. You can do nothing about the past and the future is completely beyond your control. Mindfulness asks us to pay complete attention to the present moment and to honour our response it.
Give it a go. Apart from your stress, tension headaches and grumpiness, you literally have nothing to lose.