The Role of Mindfulness in Employee Health & Happiness

Mindfulness: paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body, and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. 

Is that it, surely it can’t be as simple as that, when there is so much talk and interest around the power of mindfulness to transform the lives and bring health & happiness to so many people? But yet it is, it is simply awareness, pure awareness, and it is available within each of us. 

Such is the level of intrigue into the transformative possibilities of mindfulness, that an all party parliamentary group was established to better understand it’s impact. Last month they released a report on their findings, Mindful Nation UK, with recommendations on how and why mindfulness has an even greater role to play in our society. Of particular interest to us at Work Well Being and our mission to bring health and happiness to workplaces, was the section dedicated to the application of mindfulness in the workplace. 

The report reminded us that since 2009, the number of sick days lost due to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 24%, making mental ill health the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. Key factors identified for this include work intensification with multiple demands on attention and the need to multi-task. Most of us will be able to identify with this well, with the need to be always on it is increasingly hard to learn how to unplug, and create the space in our days to ‘just be’.

Through research, the report concludes that mindfulness can assist with focus and a range of cognitive skills; those using mindfulness report lower levels of stress whilst multi-tasking and are able to concentrate for longer without their attention being diverted. Mindfulness was also proven to improve reaction times, working memory, decision-making and significantly enhance emotional skills, with greater levels of empathy, tolerance, forgiveness and patience. Not bad for something as simple as pure awareness!

Unsurprisingly their recommendations include greater promotion, research and government support for mindfulness in the workplace, extending it’s reach to many more workplaces. Coinciding perfectly with this, is next months Mind & Matter conference here in London, with two whole days dedicated to exploring the role of mindfulness in the workplace, bringing together some of the foremost thinkers on the subject, which we are proud to be a partner of Mind & Matter 2015. We hope to see you there, if you don’t have your ticket yet, enter the code WWB10 when registering to access a 10% discount on current ticket prices. 

To find out how Work Well Being can bring mindfulness to your workplace, click here to read more about our work with MEC, delivering a 6 week mindfulness programme to their employees.