Do you mind? The new question at work

Mindfulness. Meditation. Mental health.

These are the new ways of saying “take a deep breath.”

It seems now more than ever people inside and outside the workplace are focused on their physical and mental health. Flexing your muscles on the exterior may be great, but the big muscle between the ears is what drives the important things in life: our thought processes, relationships, and overall happiness.

But sometimes the conversation around mindfulness and mental health is shrouded in misconceptions, which makes defining what they are a little tricky.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Mindfulness, however, is a mind-body-based approach that helps people manage their thoughts, feelings, and overall mental health.

Mindfulness is one of the ways in which we can manage our mental health.

The act of being mindful can come in many ways. Some people love to hit the gym, while others go to yoga sessions, play instruments, or do things like color. While these activities all take different forms, they share one common thread – they help you focus on the present and not worry about the future.

Action creates change

I have come to use the phrase “spiraling” as worrying about future events, projects, and other forms of work before they even come due. It is easy to get lost in a spiral that winds and never seems to come to an end.

Practicing some form of mindfulness (for me it’s hitting the gym or mediation) allows me to disrupt that thought process and focus on what I’m doing at that moment. When you’re doing burpees and hoping that the next one will be the last one, it’s hard to focus on the report due next week.

Action creates change. By taking these small actions to disrupt the pattern of thinking, you can cause a positive change and return your thoughts to a more centered, balanced place.

After all, the workplace can be an environment with ever-growing, forthcoming challenges. Meetings to talk about future projects, work, and more meetings to talk about even more work.

From an intern (like myself) all the way up to CEO, we are all hustling to get the present work done, only to have our plates filled up by things in the future. Taking time to step away from work, even for just five minutes, can help us declutter the mess of stressful thoughts that sometimes compound in our heads during a busy day at work.

While it seems there are more tasks than hours in a day necessary to complete them, being in the right head space can completely turn your outlook around and view that mountain of work as a small bump in the road. And it’s good for business, as small investments in empowering employee mental health improved their productivity equivalent to 2.6 hours extra per week per employee, according to a study by Harvard Health.

Finding a workplace that not only understands, but supports mental well-being, is a crucial step when looking at potential employers. The same goes when you’re looking at potential partners or vendors, because satisfied employees always go the extra mile.

Mindfulness and mental health at work

That begs the question: how can one be mindful at work?

I didn’t need to look very far to find the answer. Hyland puts an emphasis on supporting our staff to be physically and mentally fit. We offer many benefits and programs that focus on overall health.

As one example, our “Corporate Athlete” program is designed to help drive engagement and reduce burnout so individuals, teams and organizations can perform to their full potential. This program focuses on engagement, work-life balance, health and wellbeing, and performance and productivity. The overarching goal is to connect every employee’s purpose with the work they do every day. Having a program and structuring it into your daily calendar instills commitment to bettering yourself – each and every day.

Just like going to the gym, taking a moment of stillness is a great way to recalibrate. If you’re new at it, there are many apps that provide guided meditation, all in the palm of your hand. When practiced continuously, mindfulness is a great refresher to bringing a more present version of yourself to the workplace.

All of these initiatives align with Hyland’s wellbeing mission. Our focus is on the body and the mind. But finding balance – whether it’s between the body and mind, or in our careers and personal lives – is a movement we should all support.

An everyday thing

In the end, creating an office environment that fosters a hardworking culture is fine, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of the mental well-being of its employees.

Hyland has a unique culture that people absolutely love (including me). The organization excels at finding the perfect balance between working hard, and playing hard. I feel lucky that I found a workplace that empowers employees to take action to bring their best self, physically and mentally, to work every day.

For any employer, an investment in mental health and mindfulness is one that will pay dividends in both happiness and the bottom line.

As we observe World Mental Health Day, that’s something to keep in mind every day.

Kyle Leonard is a corporate communications intern with Hyland. He is a passionately curious person who works across all verticals and brings value through communication. If he’s not working on social media campaigns or working on PR, he’s learning something new. Kyle is fascinated by all things health, fitness, and quality of life.
Kyle Leonard
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Kyle Leonard

Kyle Leonard is a corporate communications intern with Hyland. He is a passionately curious person who works across all verticals and brings value through communication. If he’s not working on... read more about: Kyle Leonard