Mindfulness meditation in the workplace to develop well-being and performance at work

By Stephane Leluc

Grandstand. Work life in most companies has become hectic, characterized by cognitive overload and an increasing complexity of the technological, legal and organizational aspects of work. The rhythm is extremely fast and the generalization of functioning in multitasking mode (the illusion that we can do several things at the same time) causes our level of attention and concentration to drop. Result: stress has become a “way of life” and the number of sick days due to stress or psychological illnesses has increased rapidly, reaching the worrying proportion of 54% of sickness absences among executives and resulting in related costs. high for business. Even healthy employees feel constant pressure and experience reduced job satisfaction, creativity, resilience, and openness to new skills.

Findings from neuroscientific research and experiments from a few innovative companies show that new pathways are emerging to reduce stress, build resilience, job satisfaction and collaboration. A central aspect of these approaches is training in the practices of mindfulness meditation, also known today as Mindfulness, a method that has already proven itself in the areas of mental health and burnout prevention.

At the most fundamental level, mindfulness meditation refers to our ability to be completely mindful of what we are doing. Directing our attention is a fundamental aspect of the mind, and we do it all the time. Yet, in the midst of the wealth of information at our disposal in our professional world and in our social life, we increasingly lose our ability to set our minds on a subject and reflect on it, or to be fully present to what we do. We tend to be easily distracted, not present in our conversations, find it hard to relax and stop our mind from ruminating or worrying, and often think about other things even while we’re busy. perform a task requiring a high level of concentration.

The brain has an innate capacity for attention. It is not something foreign that we should learn, but rather a quality that we can cultivate and use more frequently. Being attentive allows us to recognize and understand things that we miss with a restless and inattentive mind. When we engage in activities or thoughts mindfully, we are better able to understand their meaning. Mindfulness, our nonjudgmental attention to what is happening in and around us in the present momentis the basis of all higher cognitive abilities such as concentration.

In the 1980s, Dr. Jon KABAT ZIN, doctor of molecular biology and director of a clinic in Boston, tested this approach by formalizing an 8-week protocol of mindfulness training for patients at his clinic to help them reduce their level of suffering and stress related to their illness and the possible prospect of death. Known as MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – stress reduction based on the practice of mindfulness meditation), this training protocol was quickly developed in North America first in the hospital sector in the 1990s, then reached the American corporate world in the late 2000s.

Stripped of any religious or spiritual reference, mindfulness meditation training teaches our mind to pause, let go of our discursive thought patterns, and reach a natural state of peace. Extensive scientific research (8,000 studies have been devoted to pain consciousness for 20 years) has proven that these techniques actually transform the structure of the brain.

Through the introduction of meditation-based training in the workplace, organizations have incorporated scientific findings regarding the neurophysiological impacts of mindfulness on the workday and corporate culture. Many companies (Google, General Electric, Intel, Mercedes, Jaguar, Novartis, Orange, SNCF, RATP, L’Oréal, Sodexo, HSBC, Natixis, Schneider Electric) now offer their employees mindfulness training.

Previous research on the effectiveness of mindfulness in working life has shown the following results:

– A significant reduction (71%) in perceived stress*

– Reinforcement of resilience and a 50% reduction in the number of sick days**

– Increased ability to concentrate (+38%)*

– Improved ability to remain calm and lucid during times of stress

– An improvement in human relations and collective intelligence within teams, felt by 85% of participants in Mindfulness training*

– Better acceptance (+45%) of work situations as well as job satisfaction*

– Increased creativity (+24%)*

– Clearer and more ethical decision-making. ***

Finally, mindfulness is now also of interest to politicians: in the United Kingdom, the project UK MINDFULNESS INITIATIVE (www.themindfulnessinitiative.org.uk), parliamentary commission of inquiry led by British MPs, designs, supports and reports on the implementation of Mindfulness programs in the fields of Education, Health, Justice – Defense – Interior and Businesses. A similar initiative has taken shape at the National Assembly in France where 3 groups of deputies have already carried out mindfulness training since 2017.

Sources: *University of Coburg – Dr Kolhs – Generation Research Program – LMU – 2013.

**Transport for London – Health and Well-being Forum – 2012

***INSEAD: Understanding and Responding to Societal Demands on Corporate Responsibility

Director of Awaris France, Stéphane LELUC works with major French and foreign groups as well as with the European Parliament to introduce, integrate and deepen Mindfulness within organizations in order to help companies unleash their potential for collaboration and creativity. . Co-author of the “Practical guide to meditation – Deploy your talents”, he has been practicing meditation and contemplative disciplines for 30 years.

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Mindfulness meditation in the workplace to develop well-being and performance at work

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