Inner Adventure Guide

The Benefits of Mindfulness for Success

Your Inner Adventure Guide Liz Barile-Page

Despite the utility of mindfulness in reducing stress and improving mental health, little research has addressed its possible connection to success indicators such as income, occupational status, and career satisfaction. A study by Shaver and Lavy of 60 managers in Israel found that managers who were more mindful were rated as better performers by their superiors. Preliminary results by Glomb and colleagues in the United States also suggest improved work performance when mindfulness-based interventions are practiced, building from evidence in the health sector that healthcare providers who are more mindful themselves demonstrate stronger relationships with their patients. Notwithstanding these isolated studies, systematic examinations across a large sample of workers have not been conducted, and broader organizational success indicators, occupational status, career satisfaction, and salary have not been examined as potential success indicators associated with mindfulness. Career values are a concern because it is possible that careers are especially fulfilling when they match people’s personal and cultural values, and in comparing Americans with Europeans, Schwartz found that America was more individualistic, resulting in higher endorsement of personal success values, such as a high income, as an important marker of career success. A pathway of Schwartz’s value theory extends to aspects of career satisfaction, like career achievement and work-related autonomy, which support a relationship between personal values and career success. That study, however, did not measure mindfulness in parallel with career values, nor did Schwartz (2006). Thus, the present study will advance the literature by examining two key subjective career indices to offer insight about whether mindfulness interventions may enhance or indirectly foster success in the workplace or whether mindful people pursue occupations and careers that match their personal values.

Mindfulness, defined as consciously and nonjudgmentally focusing on the here and now, has gained positive recognition over the last two decades as an intervention for reducing stress and psychological distress among clinical and non-clinical populations. It has received endorsement from public figures such as Oprah to former president Barack Obama to shareholders in corporate America such as Intuit, Google, Apple, and General Mills, who all now have mindfulness programs for their employees. By providing a meta-analysis of mindfulness intervention studies, Khoury and colleagues (2013) presented moderate to large effect sizes for stress reduction and mental health improvements as the main benefits of mindfulness to increase the appeal of mindfulness. Mindfulness also enhances dispositional mindfulness (defined as mindfulness as an inherent quality), which is related to successful aging, a lower risk of burnout, and better job satisfaction. Mindfulness has also been found to help reduce subjective feelings of meaninglessness.

Understanding Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be defined as a particular way of being: a way of being that is developed through practice. It is a form of dynamic awareness which determines the quality of attention that is given to each of our moments. Additionally, it defines the attitude or the quality of the attention that is suitable for any moment or situation. In this way, mindfulness is both awareness and attitude. For example, we can “walk mindfully” or speak in a “mindful” manner or be very “mindful” practitioners. In these examples, we see that mindfulness is both attentive and a way of being. Another outcome of describing mindfulness as both an attitude and a way of being is that mindfulness is also described as “embodied” or as how we give an “embodied attention”. Again, this reinforces the idea that mindfulness is something that is engaged in our living or through the everyday moments of our living.

“Mindfulness” has become a buzzword these days, and there is quite a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to be mindful. In Buddhist practice, being mindful is a key concept. For this reason, being mindful is properly called “mindfulness”. This is the first truth of mindfulness: it is a way of being and not just a thing to be done. Keeping this in mind is critically important in understanding what mindfulness really is. Indeed, by failing to understand that mindfulness is a way of being, mindfulness is easily characterized as “selfish” or as a “fad”.

Mindfulness and Improved Focus

You have probably heard about a multitasking divide. It is fairly easy to observe this divide in yourself by asking if the invisible conversation partner in your phone is more likely to hear you when you are driving a car or when you are typing an email. There is no debate that multitasking is always a ‘dual tasking’ – very much a tax on our mental performance. We suffer when trying to accomplish two activities at the same time and, if we are normal human beings, we perform better when our focus is totally centered on one single task. In fact, only 2% of people in the world are capable of properly managing more than a dual tasking, so chances are you are not one of those. In a reality of time blocks and focused work, it all comes back to harnessing both your awareness, your acuity and your agility through mindfulness, turning them into individual and visible progress.

The brain is incredibly efficient in its ability to gather and analyze information about what is happening around us. The brain is constantly scanning the environment and your body for any input. The conscious part of the brain, dealing with attention, is like the soft glow of a flashlight in a dark room. Whatever it focuses on has to be fed with energy. Fifteen minutes into a task that requires concentration, watching the brain’s energy consumption tells quite a simple story: The less brain activity, the more discomfort – be that mind-wandering, daydreaming or self-referential thoughts. This is why a focus on what is really in front of us is a work mode dominated by observation. It is the mental state that is at the heart of a mindfulness practice. This ability to really concentrate and even to boost brain activity, increase working memory capacity and enable more processing of information during all mental tasks available to us is the core of a successful work day.

Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence

Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation and US Congressman, shared that mindfulness makes you better at anything you do. Being mindful improves cognitive intelligence and technical intelligence, making it a critical part of successful leadership and managerial effectiveness. When the mind is calm and alert, knowledge, information, and insights are easily absorbed. Mindfulness can have a profound impact on all your thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving capabilities, helping you adapt to challenging situations and rapidly-changing business environments. Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Ford, Arianna Huffington, and Marc Benioff openly attribute their business and financial success to the clarity, creativity, and cognitive resilience achieved through mindfulness. Mindful people are generally prepared to concentrate for longer periods of time and are not easily distracted. This is particularly important when managing large teams and large-scale programs.

Mindfulness enables you to regulate your emotions and feelings. While self-awareness and self-regulation are two components of emotional intelligence, mindfulness enhances both. It makes you aware of your emotions and feelings and gives you the ability to manage them. People with high emotional intelligence have strong relationships and are able to cope with difficult situations. Thanks to the improved understanding of emotions, awareness of emotions, and the ability to manage them, people with a high emotional quotient are more successful in their personal and professional lives. On a personal level, being mindful contributes to better communication and interpersonal effectiveness. From a professional perspective, mindful people are better able to inspire and influence those around them, build strong business relationships, communicate with empathy and understanding, and manage a diverse team effectively.

Mindfulness and Resilience

When it comes to context, mindfulness may promote the development of resilience in a wide variety of social studies. Dealing with mindfulness has supported common tendency, self-regulation, and other favorable outcomes. To direct attention, little research has been done on the ability of mindfulness to protect brain functioning within a resilience model. Though the practice of mindfulness has largely rated the benefits of mindfulness by comparing mindfulness exercisers with alone groups in particular ways of component of close benefits, these studies often do not make proximities to clarify whether changes in these nurturing factors might also contribute to the development of resilience. More closely, the concern of mindfulness and resilience has been recognized by improving character strengths or psychological manners with mindfulness. For example, mindfulness has been shown to increase resilience-building factors such as physical and cognitive function, adaptive spiritual relationships, self-understanding, vitality, consciousness, and conscious identification in different mindfulness influenced and control early. However, perhaps the relationship between the exercise of mindfulness and actual stress response.

Resilience (adaptability) has been linked to numerous successful outcomes, such as being in good health, greater well-being, high job satisfaction and job performance, strong connection to others, high emotional intelligence, and low levels of painful conditions (including anxiety and depression). Resilience is an important quality and a focus of present academic study, and for good reasons. Here we will spotlight how mindfulness intersects with resilience, and let us offer a model of how mindfulness might promote resilience development. Resilience has been defined as the ability to overcome ongoing adversity, to sustain thriving despite challenging conditions, and to be flexible and adaptive in the face of major stress and trauma. Resilience is an adaptive quality rather than a stable detail of humans’ persona (i.e., resilience does not remain stable all the time). As an individual faces major stress or trauma, resilience may alter in an instance to maintain the original level or will raise or decrease depending on the individual. However, it is essential to highlight that resilience does not represent an insensitivity to sorrow, suffering, or stress; resilient individuals may feel very much the sorrow which occasions, seek support when needed, they may be determined, and are able to remain or even thrive despite difficulties.

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