In recent years, the concepts of mindfulness and meditation have gained traction in the workplace as a way to keep employees healthy and productive. Quietspace Coaching Founder Judith Krauthamer explains how associations can benefit from and implement these practices.
The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute recently introduced a unique member resource: a meditation guide, intended to encourage members to understand and learn its benefits.
The Meditation Guide for Investment Professionals is hosted through a meditation provider, eMindful, and provides an online platform on the practice for CFA Institute members.
“Practicing mindfulness can strengthen awareness of how our experiences and historical choices drive our present moment actions and decisions,” eMindful Chief Digital Officer Zev Suissa said in a press release. “This ‘in-the-moment’ clarity allows you to recognize what might be undermining your positive intentions, and helps you make healthier and more effective decisions.”
Judith Krauthamer, founder of Quietspace Coaching, said that other associations can similarly leverage meditation—the process of quieting your mind and body—and mindfulness—the state of being aware, present, and quieted—to better their executives, staff, and volunteer leadership.
“What happens in meditation is with the deep breathing and when it’s guided, you put people in a place of physical safety, they’re breathing slower, their bodies are getting a lot of oxygen, it quiets down the center of the brain that’s agitated … and it helps to excite the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of your brain,” she said.
She explained that CEOs and other executives—who may lack feedback and feel isolated—can particularly benefit from mindfulness, as it allows them to clearly understand their behavior and how it affects others in the organization.
“[Executives] don’t have a vision of how they sound. They don’t have a vision of what other people are thinking,” Krauthamer said. “And mindfulness helps you do that because it quiets your brain, it gets you very present, and it teaches you how to listen to the other.”
For these same reasons, meditation and mindfulness can help a board [login required] and other volunteer leaders better interact, dialogue, and make decisions.
“If you look at the board, the board itself is simply a dynamic group of people that are exchanging thoughts and energy,” Krauthamer said. “And if there’s going to be a real exchange, that means people have to be able to stop and listen to the other person without judgement.”
Lastly, mindfulness can help staff positively and empathetically interact with each other and members, creating a comfortable organizational culture and excellent customer service.
Krauthamer suggests five ways associations can implement meditation in their workplaces:
- Designate meditation groups or times, using meditation tapes.
- Hire an HR professional with a mindfulness certificate or training.
- Host mindfulness classes and discussions for staff.
- Provide a written guide or collection of resources on mindfulness and meditation tailored to staff.
- Invite mindfulness experts to speak to staff.
“For many of us, the truth is, all it takes is one guided meditation or one person to say, ‘You can do this,’ and it shifts their life, and it shifts how they are at work, and it shifts how they interact with other people,” she said.