This week on In Process, our hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon are joined by Angela Buttimer and Dennis Buttimer, co-founders of the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Wellbeing to discuss adding a mindfulness practice into your daily routine to help your enhance you energy, focus and creativity. The couple works with companies, school programs and even hospitals and treatment centers to implement mindfulness and wellbeing practices through yoga and meditation. Everyone benefits from mindfulness practice – it’s not just for yogis anymore!
“In business, we tend to be competitive,” says Ashley as they talk about the misconceptions surrounding meditation and mindfulness. “The concepts of mindfulness and meditation [seem more focused on] ‘observe,’ ‘remove,’ and ‘be non-judgmental.’ On the surface, those ideas seem in conflict [with the competitive nature of business].”
But the opposite is actually true—incorporating mindfulness practice into the regular routine has proven to make employees more productive, energetic and able to focus when implemented in corporate America.
“People think that they’re going to lose their edge, right? But the calmer and clearer you are, the better you work, the more productive you actually are. You can see what you need to do more responsively,” says Dennis.
It’s not an abstract or anecdotal benefit, either—incorporating a mindfulness practice into the workplace can trickle down to your bottom line.
“There’s so much in the research,” says Angela. “We know that mindfulness helps immune system functioning and reduces inflammation in the body; improves stress resilience; improves anxiety and depression symptoms. All of those [improvements] are improving productivity, absenteeism, presentism in the workplace. It can really help save businesses a lot of money by incorporating mindfulness into their company culture.”
So why aren’t we seeing more people making mediation a habit in the workplace? There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the practice thanks to movies and TV, but some businesses simply do not understand how small the steps can be to see real change.
“[Companies worry] that you’re going to have to reorganize the entire work force,” Dennis says. “But you could just add one minute of silence before a meeting. You could add a moment of quiet before the workday starts. You can have little areas where people can meditate at lunch. You can do these things that just use the raw material of the workplace that are already there.”
It’s incredible that such a low-investment, high-reward practice is only now reaching the mainstream school of thought, but businesses are certainly catching on. Big companies like Target, Google, and General Mills are setting the tone with mindfulness and meditation programs, but it doesn’t have to be a company-wide initiative to begin reaping the benefits for yourself and your employees.
“The only thing you really need is yourself,” says Angela. “That’s the great thing—you don’t actually have to have any equipment. What we do encourage people to do is to create a habit. To do that, we suggest they find the same place and the same time each morning to practice, and that really sets the tone for the day.”
For more of an overview on mindfulness practice as well as a short guided meditation from our guests, stream this episode of ‘In Process’ below. To download and hear more Conversations About Business in the 21st Century, subscribe to In Process on iTunes.