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Mindfulness Tips: Workplace Edition

Matt McLaughlin, ORGANIC INDIA USA
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Whether you participate in meditation, yoga, tai chi or any other mindfulness practice, the workplace can challenge your poise in unique ways. From establishing a conscious business model to everyday interactions with co-workers, mindfulness practice can inform and guide every aspect of business.

Mindfulness practice in business is gaining momentum, thanks in large part to courses like Naropa University’s Authentic Leadership Program. Several of ORGANIC INDIA’s staff have participated in this program, and here are some of the vital skills learned.

Authenticity & self-reflection

Mindfulness practice is a path towards self-knowledge. As we progress down this path, we see ourselves and our actions with more objectivity. We gain the perspective to understand our motives and reactions, and to be fully present in any given moment. With practice we are able to embody the values we admire, and can see when we are jumping to conclusions or allowing our behavior to be ruled by mental models.

In Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline, he defines mental models as "the images, assumptions, and stories which we carry in our minds of ourselves, other people, institutions, and every aspect of the world". In some way or another, these mental models, though necessary to operate as humans, are untrue perceptions of the real world. Learning how to manage and transform mental models starts with awareness.

Conflict Resolution

Mindfulness practice brings the ability to set our emotions and ego aside in order to make clear, mutually-beneficial decisions.

Assume positive intent: The other essential skill is assuming the others involved are coming from a place of good intention. When awareness and positive intent are employed, we can better understand others’ points of view, and can engage in a productive discussion that doesn’t get off track with charged emotions.

A key component to conflict resolution is active listening: listening with presence, attentiveness, and respect.

Teamwork

Mindfulness practice brings a deep awareness of both our positive qualities and our “areas for growth.” Nobody is perfect, and everyone has something to contribute.

By being honest with ourselves and our co-workers we can assemble and build teams that leverage strengths and compensate for weaknesses. This requires a great deal of emotional awareness, as well as a strong, supportive atmosphere- but the results can be stellar.

Imagine a team where everyone is valued, and each member has an effective role in contributing to the whole.

Mindful Meditation Instruction

Mindfulness starts with you. There are thousands of possible mindful practices. At the end of the day, the goal is to make everything an exercise in mindfulness. Sometimes its easier said then done, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some helpful beginner tips, and some meditation instructions that will get you started.