Interviews

Using Mindfulness to Reduce Workplace Challenges

We are living through strange and uncertain times where our mental and emotional well being is tested in ways we’ve never expected. The ongoing pandemic and the tension and uncertainty that linger around it have further intensified the stress level. At present, organizations are encouraging their employees to take up for meditation and various wellness and mindfulness practices to manage stress level. Studies have shown that mindful meditation not only reduces stress and encourages living in the moment, but also helps in building self compassion and resiliency – to help us bounce back in the midst of difficulty. In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Dr. Paras, a life leadership coach, and Founder at Matrrix, a corporate training firm, explains the importance of mindful meditation for corporate leaders and how CXOs can follow mindfulness practice to deal with work challenges.

CXOToday: What is mindfulness and how can corporate leaders benefit from it?

Dr. Paras: I’m so elated that we are talking about Mindfulness! There is a need to make mindfulness a culture in the corporate world. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing awareness to the present moment. It can be achieved by focusing attention on any one single thing, such as the sound of your breath, brushing your teeth or how something tastes. The origins of Mindfulness lie in ancient Buddhism and Hinduism traditions. However, it is non-religious by nature. Being a Mindfulness Practitioner, I would like to highlight that Corporate leaders highly benefit from this practice as in a world that is constantly “doing”, mindfulness helps one to bring the focus on “being”. 

For a busy professional it provides the knowledge to pause in his or her daily schedule while adopting a non-judgmental attitude. It raises awareness levels wherein leaders benefit by developing the power to think before reacting instead of using the same responses which are a part of our behavior patterns. With the help of appropriate tools and techniques I have performed transformational work in the areas of behavioral patterns through programs like ‘Transform Mind Transform Life’, and ‘Mindfulness Self Discover Insight Series’ and I believe that in a fast-paced world that is constantly connected and changing, mindfulness adds balance by improving one’s mental frame of mind, shaping and inspiring leaders to motivate their workforce. 

 

CXOToday: How can CXOs manage stress through such practices during current times?

Dr. Paras: Stress is inevitable and is a part of everyone’s lives. But what is important to remember is the way with which we deal with stress. Stress can act as a trigger as CXOs play a major role in a business transformational process. Hence, it is important to use mindfulness as a part of the routine especially with the current COVID-19 situation. 

A daily practice of Mindfulness increases the levels of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and helps one to regulate emotions to manage stress. Mindfulness also expands a CXOs perspective to boost mood while improving team relationships. It develops the qualities of compassion and empathy while improving one’s focus. 

If a professional experiences high levels of stress, a focused mind is useful to navigate the corporate journey while building strength and allowing space for creativity. A mind that is calm has the ability to be creative despite the stress. 

Thus the practice of Mindful meditation encourages all of these qualities within the mind enabling CXOs to manage stress with ease and to stay focused. 

CXOToday: What is the importance of mindful meditation for employees?

Dr. Paras: In today’s times, the need to be available online or on calls has increased the stress levels for employees across organisations and sectors. A professional may feel tired, demotivated, annoyed, and angry andcan also experience disturbing emotions. 

Mindful meditation is useful to rewire the mind and install new habits. This means, employees can enjoy their work while bringing a balanced approach to life. So, if you ask me why mindful meditation is important for employees, because it helps them to learn to be aware of their mind and body. This means a professional is better equipped to understand his/her own feelings and approach them with attention and awareness. For example, a stressful situation in an office wherein a team worker loses his/her temper can be handled with greater care with mindful attention to the feelings. 

A highly aware professional employs best communication methods with emotional sensitivity. Meditation improves the ability of focus while curbing the need to respond to everything around us. Mindful meditation is essential when a professional needs to handle a fast-paced work environment with tasks and team management. 

CXOToday: Can you throw some light on how CXOs can follow mindfulness practice to deal with work challenges?

Dr. Paras: Mentoring, training and coaching are close to my heart and I am aware that the life of a CXO is challenging as I have coached CXOs in the areas of mindfulness. Work challenges are high and mindfulness helps them to remain in the present moment without excessive worry. This does not mean that a CXO ignores his work responsibilities.

Mindfulness can be practiced by every busy CXO even if they don’t have time for longer practice. For example, a CXO that I recently worked with learnt and applied my quick meditation sessions. As a result, he could listen to them anytime during the day or night (while traveling, etc.) to learn the practice of Being Mindful. 

I encourage CXOs to read self-help books and set time aside for this learning, Ialso remind CXOs to be aware of their emotions and how it impacts their body by journaling their emotions. For example, understanding that when one gets angry at something how that can impact one’s health. It is also essential to spend time on personal development through coaching. 

What’s important for CXOs is to not allow the external world to control how they feel. They need to focus on building a connection with self by allowing themselves to accept and feel their emotions instead of them controlling their emotions and being strong.

CXOToday: Why are guidance and coaching important in building emotions and strengthening lives? What the HR must know about these?

Dr. Paras: Management of emotions plays an important role in an employee’s profile and performance in an organization. The HR needs to take the initiative to raise awareness around the need for emotions management. 

Coaching is focused on the outcome – in this case, the HR can work to increase coaching sessions with employees for goal clarity. HR plays an important role in strengthening emotions by promoting mindfulness and encouraging the practice at every level in the management. 

The HR can invite Mindfulness Practitioner Experts who can play the role of a facilitatorfor the employees to enable them to find congruence in their thinking, emotions and actions by challenging and addressing their limiting beliefs.

These practitioners need to share mindfulness techniques and how to use them daily in their regular scenarios. 

HR can also feature these tips through their internal communication platforms while bringing awareness to the importance of mindfulness coaching in an organization. For instance, to begin with, even a simple practice such as initiating a mindful meeting that begins with a short meditation will contribute towards management of emotions in employees within the organization. 

CXOToday: What is the importance of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and how it can improve communication with self and others?

Dr. Paras: Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is about raising awareness of the power of the subconscious mind. NLP techniques are about understanding and organizing the way you think, feel, act, and behave towards situations to create results. 

This process uses NLP models and techniques which help you to understand your own methods of perceiving information while assigning meaning to them. NLP allows professionals to use analyzing strategies while applying them to their professional responsibilities. 

A person gains a systematic approach while working on their limiting beliefs, improving communication, behavior, capabilities, and more. I’ve trained professionals to gain insights into how people organize their thinking and feelings which reflects in their behavior. 

NLP technique is important for team management and for leadership levels and helps to change thought patterns and behaviors, by training the mind for success. The strength of every organization lies in the team members which makes NLP highly beneficial for every person. It’s recommended as I have witnessed a transformation in people that I have partnered with. 

I would like to conclude by sharing that I am also developing the Mindfulness Practitioner Meditation App to ensure people stress less while learning to enjoy every moment of life. The app Includes 100+ meditation files voiced over calming music, breathing exercises, and hypnosis sessions. The app includes multiple categories such as Happiness, Communication, Peace, Mindfulness, Calmness, Success, etc. 

Through such collaborative efforts with organizations and professionals, I am determined to make coaching accessible to all and bring a transformation at every stage of life by building opportunities for the people in India.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com