The workplace can be an environment of high pressure and intensity. It’s important that in the working environment pressure is balanced with calm to ensure that both employees and employers don’t suffer high levels of stress and anxiety. Experiencing too many of these emotions will eventually lead to burnout and can create a negative relationship between an employee and their workplace.
Meditation in the workplace
In order to maintain a positive, calm and happy working environment for all those involved, it’s important to take time to support your team’s mental health. There are many ways that you can help support your employers of which one is through meditation.
Initial reactions to this are often that meditation is time-consuming, difficult to learn and needs to be done in certain environments. However, meditation is none of those things. Meditation is so important for our mental health and is an easy and accessible way to take time to look after our wellbeing.
What is the impact of workplace meditation?
According to studies, 8 weeks of meditation in the workplace has resulted in a 46% decrease in distress and a 31% reduction in negative feelings. Meditation changes life for the better and can positively impact everyone in the same way.
The workplace is arguably one of the most important environments that meditation could benefit. A stressful working environment is not a calm one. This leads to unhappy employers and an unproductive workforce. That’s why it’s so important to take a break at some point within your working day to pause, take a breath and shake off negative feelings.
There are many ways that you as an employer can help to incorporate meditation into the workplace or encourage employers to take the time in the working days to practice it.
I’ve broken down some helpful tips and simple, easy ways to help you bring meditation into your workplace to support your employees and help create a healthy working environment.
Tips to incorporate mediation into the workplace
1. Organise a workplace retreat.
Meditation is a simple but powerful practice of getting to know your inner world of thoughts, sensations and emotions so that you feel more empowered to navigate your day-to-day life. Using these tools within the workplace can be a total game-changer because it helps your employees to know how to navigate feelings of stress and overwhelm as they arise and be able to make clearer and better decisions.
Holding a workplace meditation retreat for your team can be a brilliant way to learn these tools with personal guidance so your employees can experience the benefits first hand and understand how to use them moving forward. There are many meditation retreats out there and it’s important to find the right one for your organisation. You can keep up to date with meditation workshops and retreats here.
2. Encourage time to unplug to increase employee productivity.
Recent studies have shown that the creative side of the brain cannot be accessed at the same time as the analytical side of the brain. Meaning when we are stressed, doing a million things and overthinking, we are shutting off our creativity and productivity.
In order for your team to be at their most productive it is essential to factor in space in their working day to just do nothing! Be that a walk-in nature, a short meditation or just getting away from your screen and walking to the coffee shop. Encouraging your employees to take a short break away from their desks and having a little bit of ‘nothing’ time allows them to rest their brands and create space for ideas to drop in and creativity to flow.
3. Teach anxiety-reducing meditation practices.
For employees who experience high levels of anxiety at work, this practice is particularly useful. Anxiety is usually caused by worrying about something in the future that leads to a feeling of panic in the body, which in turn will shorten the breath. So, the way to calm anxiety is to change the breath and find ways to become present.
Here’s the practice: Break the anxiety down into physical sensations. What does anxiety feel like in your body? A shortening of breath, butterflies in your belly, a nauseous feeling etc? Once you identify the sensations, you can then make changes to your breathing that will calm the anxiety. Use this breathing technique; 4 second inhaling and 6 seconds exhaling. Repeat 10 times! Your anxiety will begin to pass.
See how easy that was for me to explain that practice to you?! It’s just as easy to explain it to your employees. Teach them the practice and encourage them to implement it into their day when they feel a little overwhelmed.
4. Teach commute meditation.
So often employees feel like their commute is wasted time, so why not encourage them to use it productively to bring some calm before their day begins? Teaching your employees this simple practice is a great way to encourage meditation without impeding on their time in the office. And it can be done without anyone even noticing their doing it!
Here’s the practice: Firstly, just become aware of how you are breathing. Are you taking long, deep breaths or short, shallow breaths? Once you’ve noticed this you then want to begin to slow down your breathing. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 6 and breathe out through your nose for a count of 6. Repeat this for 5-10 minutes and notice that as you calm your breath, your whole body will start to relax.
And why not do it all again on your commute home? Encourage your team to leave work at the office and don’t take it home with them. Look at the journey into the office as a time of transition. Spend a few minutes closing your eyes and just noticing how you are feeling. Deepen the breath and allow any stress to slowly unwind. Internally say to yourself with every exhale “I let go of stress” and on the inhale “I breathe in calm”.
Just like the anxiety-reducing practice, teaching the commute meditation practice is just as easy. Gather your team, teach them these easy practices and then allow them the freedom to practice these when they feel is best.
5. Meditation for workplace happiness.
Meditation can have a significant role in workplace happiness as it brings a new kind of awareness to each individual but also collectively as a team. We often think happiness can be found through the external world but once you bring the powerful tools of meditation into the workplace, you realise that happiness is an internal experience, and we find happiness when our inner needs are met.
It can be a brilliant workplace tool to create a space where meditation is encouraged and a space where each individual team can share how they are REALLY feeling and what could support them. When you create this kind of dialogue in the workspace and everyone feels listened to and supported, happiness levels will rise exponentially. As the brilliant Brene Brown quotes “Vulnerability is power” – sharing how you feel can be the foundation for better connection and satisfaction in the workplace and beyond.
These 5 meditation tips are just a few of the many ways that meditation can be brought into the workplace. Encouraging your team to practice meditation can bring a wide range of benefits including helping them to manage stress, reducing negative emotions, increasing their creativity and productivity and controlling their anxiety. This overall will create a happier and healthier workplace for everyone.
Maude Hirst is a well-being expert who is on a mission to make meditation accessible to everyone. Discovering meditation, yoga and energy healing has changed her life for the better and believes it can do the same for others. She is trained in meditation, yoga, intuitive movement meditation and Theta Healing to bring you the wellness app, EnergyRise.