Mindfulness and Busy People 

Mindfulness meditation has long been practiced by those seeking calm and peace of mind. A Buddhist-trained HR professional, Michael Carroll encourages stressed-out executives to meditate to become more open and, consequently, more effective.

In his book, The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation (2008), Carroll explores the key principles of mindfulness.

  • How to heal toxic workplace cultures where anxiety and stress impede creativity and performance
  • How to cultivate courage and confidence in spite of workplace difficulties and economic recession
  • How to pursue organizational goals without neglecting what’s happening here and now
  • How to lead with wisdom and gentleness, not only with ambition, relentless drive and power
  • How a personal meditation practice develops your innate leadership talents

Many workplaces are adopting mindfulness meditation:

  • Companies like Raytheon, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nortel Networks, Comcast and law firms offer employees classes in mindfulness meditation.
  • Executives like Bill Ford Jr., Michael Stephen, former chairman of Aetna International, Robert Shapiro, ex-CEO of Monsanto, and Michael Rennie, of McKinsey & Co., consider meditation beneficial to running a corporation.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Recent research highlights the many benefits of mindfulness meditation:

  1. Repaired immune system
  2. Heightened emotional intelligence
  3. Reduced anxiety and depression
  4. Sustained levels of joy and satisfaction
  5. Greater resilience
  6. Improved cardiovascular health
  7. Fewer days lost to illness and stress

But practicing mindfulness requires much…well, practice. It demands vulnerability and heart, rather than ambition and achievement—a tall order for many hard-driving, results-oriented people.

How to Practice Meditation

In brief, mindfulness meditation is a friendly gesture toward ourselves, in which we take time to sit still and focus on our breath for 10–25 minutes or longer. If you’re new to meditating or don’t do it regularly, 10 minutes can seem like a long time. So try it out in 1-minute increments using the guidelines below. If you do this

  • Shift in your seated or standing position; close your eyes or maintain a soft, relaxed, downward gaze.
  • Take a long, deep breath in – and watch, observe, witness what is going on in your body
  • Take a long, deep breath out – and watch, observe, witness what is going on in your body
  • Experience being you in the moment – in the now.
  • Repeat three more times for a total of 1 minute.

One minute feels more manageable, doesn’t it? Don’t rush it. Just notice what comes up for you. As this becomes second nature, try taking additional 1-minute meditation breaks. I’d love to hear from you. If you’re curious or have questions, you can contact me here, or on LinkedIn.