By: Emily Bohill

“Meditation, more than anything in my life, was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had”

Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates

As our lives become busier and busier, and the growth of technology makes it much more difficult to switch off, it is hard to find time to sit and think. The situation is exasperated now that we are working from home, or perhaps more appropriately: living at work. In this article, we reflect on the need to manage stress, bringing focus and mindfulness through meditation.

These are some of the benefits that mindfulness can bring:  

  • Decision making: Individuals capable of reflecting on ideas and initiatives without preconceived judgement tend to be less swayed by the promise of rapid reward, and are better equipped to calculate a balance between risk and potential returns.
  • Improved communication: A focused mind results in clear communication, improving workplace efficiency whilst reducing ambiguity, and also brings a more measured approach in stressful situations such as deal closings and year end – or global pandemics, for instance.
  • Creativity: The ability to rid the mind of outside distractions provides scope for taking a different approach to problems. Additionally, it provides the extra intellectual flexibility required to lead firms into new business lines.

How to be mindful: Our minds are constantly flipping around between the past and the future; the fundamental aim of meditation is to return your focus to the present. 

  • Practice during routine activities.Meditate whilst spending time on tasks which do not actively engage your brain, such as cleaning your teeth or washing hands.
  • Focus on your breathing: Concentrate on your breathing and surroundings. Once you do this, it is much easier to dispassionately analyse the causes of your stress. 
  • Be present: Instead of half listening to colleagues whilst flicking through emails, take the time to fully understand what they say, both verbally and non-verbally.
  • Seek further guidance: Enrol on a course or find an app that works for you. Join our weekly mindfulness sessions hosted by Mary Walker.

Overcoming scepticism:

If the commercial and career benefits of mindfulness don’t grab you, here’s one that might: The Families and Work Institute asked 1,000 children, “If you were granted one wish about your parents, what would it be?” The parents predicted the kids would say spending more time with them. They were wrong. The kids’ number one wish? That their parents be less tired and less stressed.

Perhaps that fact alone is worth being mindful about.

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