By Leanne Simmons
EXPERTS say companies that do not teach their staff how to be mindful could be losing millions of pounds every year.
A survey by the Health and Safety Executive published in November found that stress accounted for 45 per cent of all working days lost due to ill health in 2015-16.
Health, business, and media professionals have higher levels of stress, especially if they work for large organisations and mindfulness can help relieve this by changing the way they think.
Emma Kenny, Good Morning Britain’s psychologist and founder of holistic health website www.MakeYourSwitch.co.uk said: “Taking time to be mindful in the workplace helps us to be present and put things in perspective.
“Work is a big part of everyday life for many, and nothing saddens me more than when it causes stress levels that can be harmful to long-term health.
“Take time to focus on everyday tasks as part of being consciously present in your daily routine, from eating your breakfast in the morning, to taking time to be aware of your surroundings on your commute, or focusing on tasks in hand instead of thoughts wandering ahead to the meeting you’ve been dreading.
“Recognising when your mind starts to wander is a great step and opportunity for you to bring thoughts back to the present.
“Practicing mindfulness can not only make you less self-critical, but also improve strategic thinking and decision making processes in the workplace.
“Being mindful can also allow us to harness our creativity, improve thought processes and the ability to trust ourselves and cope with change.
“It’s really important that we don’t suppress our emotions and actively recognise our feelings in the present moment, to improve the ability to adapt and respond positively to the workplace environment.”
Freelance writer Sara Bussandir, 37, from London, worked as a business analyst in a fast-paced telecoms company before her health become her health started to suffer.
She said: “I had a full-time job, looked after the home and three young children, and it was so stressful.
“A Fitbit gadget opened my eyes on how little I was sleeping, how fast my heart was beating all the time and how I was getting stomach cramps only during working hours. I realised it was time to change.
“After a severe accident where I broke my leg, I turned to mindfulness to try and manage the busy workload I had.
“Six months later I am a different person, and now enjoy my work – being self-employed writing for my own blog to help others, and I practise mindfulness daily.”
Nikki Thomas, 31, a performance coach, from London, said: “I absolutely live by mindfulness. I meditate everyday day, firstly when I wake and then if I have any types of stress at work or feel like I am losing control.
“It gives me a chance to calm down, think rationally, prioritise and realise that it is only work and one aspect of my life.
“Being mindful reminds me that I own my life and stops me over reacting.”
Mindfulness is a simple form of meditation, and logical thinking, creating a clear mind for better success. It helps put issues into perspective and be able to deal with them in the right way.
The less stress a member of staff is under helps reduce levels of absenteeism and reduces costs associated with sickness – for example getting cover staff.
Mindfulness gives employees the ability to think more clearly and focus on assigned tasks.
Mindfulness can improve memory and concentration, again helping towards tasks that need to be carried out in their job.
Mindfulness can improve memory and concentration but also increase levels of physical and mental well-being.
It increases levels of productivity and engagement in tasks as staff members are more focused, and dedicated to their jobs.
Mindfulness can help to create a better overall working environment as staff members are happy and have better cohesion with other employees.
If staff are overall happier in their work place they are better able to control any stress they do encounter.