Tired of dealing with all the crap you get at work? Tired of yelling at the kids? Or maybe you visited your doctor and your blood pressure is thru the roof and you’re anxiety is off the charts? Coping with all of life’s challenges can come with getting older – the head aching, heart pumping frustration period of life. And since you have to go to work…..now you’re over the top. Now comes along the more friendly, big-brother workplace and the corporate meditation officer, yes the CMO. Welcome to Yoga at the workplace. Meditation training programs, yoga rooms, and mindfulness might be coming to a corporate office near you.
Corporate Mindfulness – Really?
The corporate world is taking notice of meditation and forms like mindfulness. Airport bookstores are offering mini “Mindfulness” pocket guides to remind you of being mindful. Even corporate learning programs are offering mindfulness and yoga offerings as part of overall annual training programs.
In Mindful Work, Gelles, a business reporter for The New York Times, catalogs the nascent trend of establishing employee well-being programs that promote mindfulness, an activity that is perhaps best described as doing nothing. More precisely, mindfulness means drawing one’s attention to the sensations of the present moment, and noting, without frustration or judgment, any mental wanderings that get in the way. It can be done anywhere—at your desk, on the subway platform—and at any time. Decades of research suggest that setting aside time for mindfulness can improve concentration and reduce stress.
A Salon article noted:
“Corporate mindfulness is bullsh*t: Zen or no Zen, you’re working harder and being paid less!”
Mindfulness matters, but make no mistake: Corporations are co-opting the idea to disguise the ways they kill us. The point being, don’t let the corporate culture give you the feeling that it all can be fixed with some zen driven mindfulness…..cause it won’t. Then again, if I could get myself in a state where I can drop my blood pressure without having to pop a pill, it has to be a good thing. Heck, you’ll probably have to still take the pill, but you can at least maybe NOT blow your top!
Jeremy Hunter wrote a great piece called ” Mindful-Is-Mindfulness-Good-for-Business – Jeremy researched a number of companies that offer mindful training including:
- Sun Life Financial
- Aetna International
- Hearst Publications
- General Mills
- Goldman Sachs
- Ford Motor Company
- Cargill, Inc.
- Kaiser Permanente
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Jeremy mentions Mindfulness as A disruptive technology – “There is a more severe critique, too. Several of the people I talked to acknowledge that “mindfulness” can and has been offered in such a superficial way that it’s no longer truly mindfulness. It can turn into a tool to teach people to cope while they continue on the same old course that caused the problems they sought meditation to address in the first place.” Corporate mindfulness teachers who claim that individualized mindfulness programs are subversive often evoke a ‘Trojan horse’ metaphor.
Google’s Chief Happiness Officer
Chade-Meng Tan is Google’s official “jolly good fellow” and author of the book, Search Inside Yourself. Tan was an engineer, and engineers at Google are famously given “20% time” to work on projects of their own choosing. Tan used his 20% time, working with experts, to create a course called “Search Inside Yourself,” designed to help Googler’s improve their emotional intelligence and mindfulness, making them happier and more productive employees, and better bosses. Ultimately, his goal is to make the world in general a happier place for everyone.
Buddhist and Head Mobile apps
How can I be mindful when I’m staring at a phone app? Well, that’s an interesting question. There are apps for everything today. The best way to put it here is that whatever helps you to get your head in the game so you can leverage mindfulness, we’re all for it.
Head Space – an app
Don’t Think you have to be a Buddhist
- You don’t have to practice Hindu to be a Buddhist (but it helps)
- You don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice yoga (but it helps)
- You don’t have to do Yoga to be Mindful (but it helps)
Being mindful and practicing mindfulness is simple:
“BE IN THE PRESENT, BE AWARE, AND BREATHE (Then Smile)!”
Couple of books to recommend:
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life – by Thich Nhat Hanh
Lastly, a friend shared her way of coping with life’s stress. It’s Weeping Yogi (aka the Weeping Buddha), which claims to have it’s own ornate powers. Another story for another day!