“A number of Fortune 500 companies, including Google, AOL, Apple and Aetna, offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees — and the top executives of many major corporations say that meditation has made them better leaders.”
— Carolyn Gregoire “The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People“
In her article “The Daily Habit Of These Outrageously Successful People,” Huffington Post senior writer Carolyn Gregoire presents 10 influential business leaders who say meditation has helped them achieve (and sustain) a high level of success. The list includes Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington has brought meditation into her company, offering weekly classes for AOL and Huffington Post employees.
Let’s take a look at some mindfulness practices that are being integrated into workplaces.
Jeremy Hunter’s Article
In this terrific infographic, “Your Mind at Work,” Jeremy Hunter teaches us “new ways to approach those niggling challenges in the office.”
Jeremy Hunter serves as Assistant Professor of Practice at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. A PDF version of his article, “Is Mindfulness Good for Business?” may be downloaded here. The article first appeared in the premiere (April 2013) issue of Mindful.
There are a number of different simple breathing exercises that can be done virtually anywhere.
Here is one from the website of Dr. Andrew Weil:
The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day; you cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little light-headed when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens — before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.
In Buddhism, kinhin (Chinese: 経行; pinyin: jīngxíng; Japanese pronunciation: kinhin, kyōgyō; Korean: gyeonghyaeng; Vietnamese: kinh hành) is the walking meditation that is practiced between long periods of the sitting meditation known as zazen. The practice is common in Chan Buddhism and its extra-Chinese forms, Zen, Korean Seon and Vietnamese Thiền.
Walking meditation is one of the simplest meditation practices, and ideal for workplace breaks.
“Walking meditation is practicing meditation while walking. It can bring you joy and peace while you practice it. Take short steps in complete relaxation; go slowly with a smile on your lips, with your heart open to an experience of peace. You can feel truly at ease with yourself. Your steps can be those of the healthiest, most secure person on earth. All sorrows and worries can drop away while you are walking. To have peace of mind, to attain self-liberation, learn to walk in this way. It is not difficult. You can do it. Anyone can do it who has some degree of mindfulness and a true intention to be happy.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh, “A Guide to Walking Meditation“
Meditation Freedom Podcast
The Meditation Freedom podcast contains “interesting interviews with long-time practitioners, teachers, authors, and other folks with longtime meditation and mindfulness practices.”
I highly recommend “MF 26 – How to Easily Bring Meditation into Your Workplace!“. The author shows you “how you can incorporate ‘mini’-meditations and mindfulness at your place of work, without having to look weird, or needing a, ‘meditation room’.
Drew Hansen’s Guide
Forbes contributor Drew Hansen has given us a wealth of information in his article “A Guide To Mindfulness At Work“. Hansen has brought together ideas and resources from many different sources, and the content includes several useful links.
Introducing mindfulness into your workplace can be a simple, gradual process.
The benefits to the individual, the workplace, and humanity are immeasurable!
This is part two of a two-part series, Mindfulness in the Workplace, by Carol Preibis of Ahh The Simple Life. You can read part one here. If you’re a regular reader of the CCC blog, you’ll recognize Carol as a contributor. Thanks, Carol!
Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. [UPDATE: Their blog, Ahh the Simple Life, is no longer active.]