How Meditation in the Workplace Can Help Fix a Toxic Company Culture

By
Angela Kambouris
·

Many companies are searching for new, effective ways to break through a toxic workplace and boost employee wellness. One of the most effective strategies for accomplishing this is by encouraging meditation in the workplace. 

The power of meditation has been on the rise for many companies that are seeking to improve productivity, promote mental wellbeing, and reduce the stress that manifests in toxic workplace cultures. Research shows that practicing mindfulness, specifically through meditating regularly, can train your brain to better process emotions, anxiety, and help you focus on the present moment. 

Unsurprisingly, meditation has been acclaimed as the antidote to the busyness addiction. Through a simple act of breath awareness into the present moment, daily meditation practice can be a useful tool for alleviating stress and anxiety. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the benefits of encouraging meditation to your team, provide some suggestions on how to integrate meditation into your organization, and share tips for utilizing meditation to help reduce stress and anxiety among your team members.

Why Meditation Can Benefit Your Workplace

Meditation is a mind-body practice that has been used for centuries to promote calmness, improve physiological balance, and improve overall health. More and more companies are embracing meditation programs for employees, given how the studies support how beneficial meditation can be on the mind and body.

Slowing down the mind can be daunting. There is a myth that meditating is to turn off your thinking. A more simplistic view is to connect with yourself in the present moment rather than investing your energy about the future or ruminating on the past. When your mind wanders, and it will, you use your breath to guide you back to the present moment.  

How to Introduce Meditation in the Workplace

There are many ways to meditate. However, the most common ones focus on one specific thing - such as the breath, an object, a mantra, or an emotion. The purpose of this is to focus strongly on one point and to bring your attention back to the focal point when it wanders, and it will. 

Here are some tips to get you started with meditation:

  • Free online meditations are available, websites and apps can support you in learning the basics, improve your meditation practice, and build a sustainable habit.
  • Visualization can assist in keeping you grounded. By picturing your thoughts, you can create less attachment to them
  • When drama begins, breathe deeply.
  • Don't get caught up in the story.
  • Don't judge yourself for missing a day.
  • Begin with guided practice, Calm and Headspace apps are a great place to start. Start with 5-10 minutes a day and support people to do the same during working hours. 
  • Consider lunchtime meditation, where employees can gather and recharge their batteries. 

Evidence-Based Technique For Wellness And Inner Peace

One method that has had a significant impact on building resilience in the workplace has been Transcendental Meditation (TM). Several scientific studies have linked TM to factors associated with peak performance, increased energy, enhanced mental clarity, and resiliency. 

Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, and Ellen have endorsed TM and highlight how 20 minutes twice a day can slow down breathing, heart rate, and the body gains a deep level of rest. When TM is adopted, meditators are given their unique mantra by a certified TM instructor that is repeated throughout their entire meditation to produce a deep state of relaxation. 

Smart business leaders recognize that to gain a competitive edge requires different thinking. This meditation is an excellent choice for companies who are looking to promote employee health and wellbeing.

Company Leaders That Promote Employee Meditation

Many well-known business leaders have publicly supported meditation. Ray Dalio, the author of Principles, stated that "meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I've had." Numerous companies across the world believe meditation can make you a better leader and today offer employee meditation classes or one-on-one programs. 

Apple offers meditation at its main campus, and before Steve Jobs passed away, he often took part in meditation retreats and maintained relationships with many monks. Nike implemented relaxation rooms that can be used for naps, meditation, or prayer. Google developed a program called "Search Inside Yourself," which supported employees to learn how to breathe mindfully, listen to colleagues, and improve emotional intelligence.

Tips for Fixing a Toxic Workplace Culture and Employee Stress

If your workplace is consumed with stress, emotional waste such as drama, health issues, or low morale, then your company is likely to benefit from implementing a meditation practice. 

Here are some of the powerful benefits of embodying meditation as a workplace tool:

1. Breakthrough Stress with Courageous Conversations

The mantra of today's workplace – do more with fewer runs rapid in the tapestry of companies. Given the realities of change being the name of the game, work-related stress isn't going to end anytime soon. Workplace stress makes up a significant part of the general mental health problems for employees. 

The American Institute of Stress reported eighty-three percent of US workers to suffer from work-related stress, and US businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress. The people and financial costs of work-related stress are horrific. Companies must have courageous conversations about work-related stress, pay more attention to mental health issues, and implement tools and practices that will create shifts and prioritize caring for their people. Meditation is a simple way to reduce stress and tension in the workplace. A ten-minute meditation break can help employees clear their minds and feel more relaxed.

Stress is real, and we all feel it. Not only does stress take a toll on your emotional and physical health at work, but the toxicity can also spill over into your home life. Making meditation a habit will enable you to curb stress without compromising your performance or working less. Meditation does not eradicate the cause of your stress; however, it can support you with dealing with it. 

2. Being More Present

In the workplace, being intentionally more present in the moment, your brain can function at a higher level. Meditation can assist in helping you regulate your emotions and gain a deeper understanding. When fully present within the workplace, managers who maintain an open mind, tend to stray away from judgment and are emotionally present to inspire others, develop employees' skills, provide support and bring out the best in people. 

One-way managers can implement being present within their day to day operations is to provide more time for important meetings or discussion. At times, essential conversations are rushed, so by allocating an extra 15 minutes in between provides the extra cushion.

3. Making Better Decisions

Researchers at INSEAD and The Wharton School reported that "just one 15-minute focused breathing meditation can help people make smarter choices.'' Decision-making driven by emotions can be a recipe for disaster. Managers must slow down and step back. By purposeful problem solving, psychological barriers can be removed. By being mindful, you can evaluate information at the moment and frame your decisions to provide an authentic response. 

4. Connect to Your Mind-Body, Not Your Email First Thing in the Morning

Creativity is vital in most workplaces. Meditating for five minutes, focusing on your breath, body, or a specific phrase, your attention drifts from your thoughts and centers your focus. By shifting your thinking, you can open doors to new avenues to conceive new ideas. By unplugging, employees can let their brain do the work by allowing their next big idea to surface. 

5. When Work Becomes Meaningful, Success Follows

When amid chaos, it is easy to forget all the aspects of who you are while at work. When this happens within a toxic workplace, the emotional drama runs rapids, and you can feel disconnected to who you are. Engagement in your work happens when you feel a deep connection and a sense of purpose. When meditation practice is adopted, it is a perfect way to connect with your purpose at work and reconnect with how your role makes a real impact. One way is to write a list of what inspires you at work, whether it be specific projects or people that fill you with energy. Another way is to seek clarity on your 'why' to draw inspiration.

By integrating best practices into your daily work schedule for better emotional and physical health, you can catch yourself before sliding down the slippery slope of stress, workplace toxicity, and even burnout. Meditation opens your mind and body to cultivate new ideas, lead with integrity and self-reflection.

6. Fostering Human Connection

By practicing meditation together as a group is one way to promote social interaction, build human connection, and foster a sense of unity. Studies have highlighted the impact of an eight-week meditation program on healthcare professionals as the program had a positive effect on the participant's mental wellbeing, moods, empathy, and stress levels. Memory Improvement Tips reported that "meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain – changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus, and improve memory."

7. Implement a Meditation Practice in Your Company

Promote the idea of starting a mediation program by sharing educational resources about the benefits of meditation. Investing in hiring a meditation teacher to lead the program may be your best bet if no one at your company has any experience with meditation. 

If you don't have the resources to hire a professional, another alternative may be to deliver a group meditation through a guided meditation video, audio, or have a colleague lead the sessions. Determine the frequency of contact based on your workplace needs. A 30-minute meditation session per week might work best. For others, a 10-minute daily session may be better. 

Invite conversations with employees to determine a consistency that is convenient and effective. At the end of the first week, seek feedback, whether it be through a focus group discussion, one-on-one conversations, or through a survey, to help you adjust your program to fit the needs of your employees.

Meditation as a Workplace Tool to Breakthrough Toxic Culture and Stress

We all can agree that meditation can make you a better human being, a better leader. Whether you arrange someone to come into the workplace to discuss meditation or implement an in-house program, meditation can support you to reduce stress and provide insights into your daily life, including work. By building a regular practice, meditation can break through toxic cultures, and benefit both the people and business. 

Are you interested in making your workplace more efficient? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office.

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