How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Transform Your Workplace
By: Laura Groth
Mindfulness and capitalism may not sound like a classic pairing. I am here to tell you that they actually go together like peanut butter and jelly.
My personal mindfulness journey began with a deep dive in silent meditation retreats. I actually got involved in them right before the COVID lockdown. To those of us privileged enough to work from a safe home environment, that lockdown sometimes felt like a mandated silent meditation retreat. At first, this journey was purely personal. It became a deep exploration of the self, the universe, the meaning of life. But when 1/3 of your life is spent in the capitalist thralls of trying to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head, the two concepts are bound to collide – with surprisingly delightful results.
Mindfulness has trained me to be a better leader, a better teammate, and best of all, a better listener. I began to coach my brain to stay focused on my breath during meditation, which then translated wonderfully to staying present as an active listener. By learning to separate my expectations from the experience of the present moment, I am able to connect with colleagues and clients on a deep, authentic level.
How does this lead to compassion?
This article by Rasmus Hougaard on the site Ten Percent Happier explains some of the research behind bringing compassion into the workplace. He uses strategies familiar to anyone who has experimented with mindfulness or meditation. The researchers identified four specific ways to bring compassion into the workplace:
1) Caring presence – Be in the present moment and give the humans in front of you your full attention in that moment.
2) Caring courage – Learn to sit with discomfort, even when it involves fear or uncomfortable emotions.
3) Caring candor – Practice being completely direct in your communication, while also being fully open to others’ responses and perspectives.
4) Caring transparency – Share what is on your mind in a complete and open way. This enables deeper connections and authentic communication.
Check out the article and see what you think. Could you pick one of these techniques to practice at work? How do you think it would influence your experience? Your colleagues’ experience?