Should you encourage your employees to meditate?
Three out of every four Americans find work stressful. That means 75% of the population is spending the majority of their day in an unhealthy and harmful environment. Sure, a certain amount of stress can be useful for finding motivation and creativity, but this isn’t the type of stress we’re talking about. Stressors like noisy, cramped workspaces or difficult colleagues don’t help anyone do their best work. You might not have the time, resources, or authority to change these things immediately, but there is one big improvement you can implement right away: encouraging meditation in the workplace.
The benefits of meditating
Meditation is all about being quiet, present, and relaxed. All it takes is a deep breath and an awareness of the present moment to start feeling better. Anyone can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s a fantastic habit to improve both physical and mental health. People who meditate regularly have more energy, heightened focus, and increased resilience. They experience lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, which in turn can have positive effects on their behavior and relationships.
Not only are these advantages great for individuals, but they also pose lasting benefits for your organization. When employees are healthy, they open fewer health claims, cost savings that ultimately make your organization more profitable.
Concerned about the associated costs? There are none! Meditation doesn’t require any specialized expertise, so you don’t have to spend anything on training. Your employees can also meditate wherever they feel most comfortable (at their desks, in an unused room, nearby park, or even the restroom), which means you don’t have to build or lease any extra space.
The ideal meditation environment
If you’d like to create an ideal meditation area for your staff, here are some elements to incorporate:
- Dim lighting to calm the mind
- Sound-proofing and window coverings to reduce distractions
- Natural materials (plants, wood, rocks, etc) to help them feel more grounded
- Soft seating or flooring so they can truly relax
- A comfortable temperature (not too cold or too hot) to minimize their physical stress
Why meditate at work?
On first glance, you might think the workplace is the least conducive to achieving zen, but the fact that it can be stressful, loud, and intimidating actually makes it perfect. Meditation relieves stress, so it makes sense to use it in tense situations. It also helps with concentration, which we could all use more of in this era of incessant notifications. Many of us don’t take enough breaks either, so meditation can force us to squeeze in some self-care.
Dealing with pushback
Unfortunately, despite the piles of irrefutable science and history touting the advantages of meditation, you may come up against resistance from people who think it’s hokey or a waste of time. Below are some common excuses you might hear, and possible responses that could change their mind:
More mindfulness resources for your staff
We have a lot of content on improving mental health in the workplace. For starters, you can read more on our blog. Our online library is also packed with videos, podcasts, and tip sheets on mindfulness, stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health topics. To learn more, book a free demo today.
Also published on Medium.