Many of our clients ask us here at ZEITGUIDE what's with all the fuss about mindfulness. They're mostly familiar with practices contributing to mindfulness, such as meditation, and know how that bolsters wellbeing. But with companies like Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global pitching it to Uber and other companies, they wonder if mindfulness is somehow becoming a requisite perk? Or even a job requirement for today's business leaders?

Mindfulness essentially means "paying attention" -- being consciously present in the here and now. Mindfulness meditation deliberately creates mental space between your thoughts and your reactions to those thoughts. Stress relief is one benefit, but this way of thinking also leads to greater control of one's emotions and an ability to sustain focus.

All that sounds pretty good -- not just for you, but for a whole office, right? Here are five other reasons mindfulness is becoming essential to business:

Mindfulness unleashes productivity. Researchers have found that daily mindfulness activities such as meditation can increase productivity by 47 to 62 minutes per week. They also make us better decision-makers and improve our ability to focus on our tasks.

Un-mindful employees are unhealthy employees. Unmitigated stress increases the risk of developing heart disease, liver disease, gastrointestinal problems and cancer. Experts say by mitigating stress, mindfulness can save lives and money.

Leading companies are investing in mindfulness. Uber, Accenture, JP Morgan, General Mills, BlackRock and Google have implemented mindfulness programs. Aetna went a step further and created a Chief Mindfulness Officer role to improve the wellness of its employees.

Business schools are teaching mindfulness. Harvard Business School and New York University's Stern School of Business are among those offering mindfulness courses to MBA students. NYU's Yael Shy and Connie Kim wrote in Harvard Business Review that mindfulness practices "not only build students' skills as future managers and leaders, they also enhance their emotional intelligence and deepen their often-stressful, results-driven lives."

Your customers are already into it. There are more than 1,300 apps devoted to mindfulness and meditation. One of the most popular, Headspace, has been downloaded more than 11 million times. Even skeptics like technology analyst Mary Meeker now say mindfulness apps are poised to take off.

So if peace of mind isn't enough motivation to pursue mindfulness, think of it as a competitive advantage. Providing some meditation instruction, subsidizing meditation app subscriptions, and providing a quiet space and a supportive environment for mindfulness can all go a long way toward a more mindful workplace.

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Published on: Feb 27, 2017