A little mindfulness benefits your coworkers, too.

By Liz Steelman
Updated May 01, 2019
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Americans are extremely stressed. As budgets become tighter, to-do lists become longer, and the state of the world becomes less certain, it's been harder for many people to get through the day without feeling overextended. But there might be a simple and science-backed way to relieve some of the pressures of your job: Taking a pause and being mindful.

According to a 2016 study, published in the Journal of Management, working for a company that incorporates mindfulness training, such as Google, Aetna, Mayo Clinic, or the United States Marine Corps, improves focus and teamwork and lessens stress.

Case Western Reserve University researchers in various fields, including management, mindfulness, general psychology, and neuroscience, combed through 4,000 scientific papers on mindfulness and its effect on people’s minds, emotions, actions, relationships, and performance at work. In total, they only found two papers that reported any negative effects of mindfulness.

Though it is an individual habit, the research shows that mindfulness—defined in this study as "present-centered attention and awareness"— has benefits on interpersonal skills that create a better working environment for all.

Those who practiced mindfulness had greater consciousness throughout the day, which lessened the effects of stress related to decision-making. Mindfulness also helped them develop greater empathy and compassion, which improved coworker relationships. Mindful workers also had improved stability, control, and efficiency in their tasks, and had increased attention spans during visual and listening tests compared to those who didn’t practice.

Do you feel like you're the only mindful worker in your office? Here are some ways to manage your stress. Or maybe you want to build more compassion and tolerance for workplace stress and anxiety. Here are five mindfulness meditation exercises to try when things get overwhelming.