How To Reduce Workplace Stress & Improve Team Resilience

Stress in the workplace is a growing concern for individuals and businesses alike. The causes and impact of stress do not happen in isolation, which means that workplace stress can affect more than just the few. As Confucius wisely suggested:

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.”Confucius

The Ripple Effect

If an individual is stressed at work, it could be that the source of stress is completely unrelated to the workplace. Equally, it could very much be the workplace that is the cause of stress. Whatever the reason, if a person is suffering from stress, it’s likely to affect those around them too, otherwise known as Emotional Contagion.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers experience stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. When you take into account the Ripple Effect, addressing stress within your business could be a gamechanger.

Also important is building the resilience of employees to help them deal better with stress going forward.

There are a number of ways of accomplishing this, including Mindfulness and Meditation.

Pressure from above

A workload is seen as the biggest cause of workplace stress. Whilst some onus must be put on the individual to speak up about workload pressures, it’s also the responsibility of the manager to make sure they are not overloading their team members.

Training in communication and in leadership and management can help. However, sometimes high workloads cannot be avoided, and if this is the case then it’s the manager’s responsibility to support their team members in how to cope better under such circumstances. This is where Mindfulness and Meditation can really play a role, giving individuals the tools to build resilience and cope better with stress at work, particularly in high-pressure situations.

Other commonly cited causes of workplace stress are unrealistic deadlines, poor work-life balance, lack of control and poor support, all of which can be overcome by better management and communication skills for both the manager and their team members. However once again, Mindfulness and Meditation can play a key role in helping put the stressful situation into perspective as well as help prevent stressful situations occurring from poor decision making and lack of focus.

How does it work

Literally thousands of pieces of scientific research have been carried out to examine the efficacy of mindfulness and meditation in varying contexts. The research has shown that once an individual has established their Mindfulness practice, their brain re-organizes and builds new neural pathways in response to new experiences known as neuroplasticity. In other words, Mindfulness and Meditation helps them to grow and rewire their brain to be more resilient to stress and in how they react to events and situations.

Masses of benefits

As well as helping to manage and reduce stress, practicing meditation and mindfulness in the workplace has lots of other benefits. Heightened intelligence, improved decision making, better emotional control, and greater focus to name but a few. 6Q, creators of an innovative employee engagement pulse survey and whose purpose is to encourage happier more transparent workplaces across the globe, argue that these are the reasons so many more executives are turning to mindfulness and meditation.

You’d be in good company

An increasing number of business heavyweights are now using Mindfulness and Meditation practices to enhance their business performance. According to the Entrepreneur.com, they include Bill Ford of the Ford Motor Company who has said that meditation has helped improve his productivity as well as enabled him to make decisions with kindness and compassion. Marc Benioff claims he meditates each morning to keep his company, Salesforce, innovative. Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn swears by the Headspace App as a means staying positive and focused.

How to get started

So how do you encourage mindfulness and meditation practice in your team? In short, you might consider leading by example. As managers, if you develop good meditation habits and your team sees how it benefits you then it will be easier to bring them on board. You can learn meditation techniques yourself, however, meditation is so much easier to master and build into your daily routine if you are taught by experienced practitioners.

Positive Consultancy run a range of Workplace Mindfulness Programmes ranging from 40-minute tasters to full 8-week courses.

As Positive Consultancy argue Mindfulness training can play a key role in helping you and your teams thrive in today’s frenetic workplace.

Do it now

When you consider the obvious benefits and the fact it’s being endorsed by the best in business why wouldn’t you introduce mindfulness and meditation to your business?

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