Doidam 10/ShutterstockIs work wearing you down? If you have trouble focusing, feel exhausted, or lack motivation in the office, it could be a sign you’re headed for work burnout.
Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan recognized the symptoms, too. Although he and his colleagues were eager to dive into their jobs, they struggled to disengage and unplug once they left the office—which threatened to cause significant health issues down the road. But these Googlers didn’t need more state-of-the-art technology to fix their problem. Instead, Tan turned to the ancient Eastern practice of mindfulness, or “the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” according to Mindful.org.
That’s why he launched an internal course for his fellow Googlers called Search Inside Yourself, a mindfulness program developed by leading experts in the field. After just seven weeks of meditation, as well as exercises focused on enhancing sensory and emotional awareness, his coworkers reported feeling happier, healthier, and more productive. Now, Tan heads up the nonprofit Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) beyond the company’s cubicles.
Others have started to catch on to the amazing benefits of mindfulness, too. According to recent research from the insurance agency Aetna, an internal mindfulness program reduced employee stress levels by 36 percent, increased weekly production by over one hour, and lowered health care costs by seven percent. Replacing detention with meditation can improve behavior in schools, as well.
Why is mindfulness so effective? “It’s a simple idea with significant implications,” according to Inc.com. “The cumulative effect of re-centering ourselves gives us power over our anxieties and allows us to embrace the present moment. It helps us subdue one of our most common enemies—ourselves.” In other words, developing good mental habits can improve well-being and reduce stress in the office.
Here are a few ways you can sneak mindfulness into your everyday life—starting now.