When Mindfulness Comes to the Business Meeting

A person sits peacefully on a stone wall, facing mountains and the sunrise.

On the blog, we’ve talked about the process of redoing our website last year right after we’d launched it. Our friend Al was instrumental in making our website relaunch a success, and she did more than just creative direction while she was working with us. 

At the beginning of our meetings, Al would ask if the team wanted to do a short mindfulness exercise to ground ourselves before jumping in. I’m typically a person who gets on a Zoom call and hits the ground running, so it was a big shift to spend the first several minutes of a meeting with my eyes closed, just breathing while Al led us through some things to help focus our attention and calm our minds.

While our team hasn’t made a practice of continuing to do these kinds of groundings prior to meetings, both Manny and Amy practice yoga and I like to think that our brand encourages the whole team to practice mindfulness in the way that makes the most sense for them. Here are some of my thoughts on mindfulness and business.

What does mindfulness have to do with business? 💼

It might seem like meditation and mindfulness don’t have any place in business, but I think there are actually a lot of benefits to including it in your corporate identity, aside from the obvious benefits to everyone’s well-being. 

Breaking through the rush-rush-rush cycle 😵‍💫

Modern business moves fast, and it can seem like if you aren’t constantly running from one meeting to another, you’re not doing it right. I know I am nearly constantly overbooked and I still reach the end of my days behind on my to-do list. Especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, it can feel like any moment you don’t spend rushing through the things you have to do is wasted time.

But humans weren’t made to work with no breaks and no enjoyment. There are times when you really have to put your head down and work, but the cost is high if you do this all the time without paying attention to yourself as a human.

When Al took time to lead us in a slow and thoughtful moment of mindfulness, I had a choice: I could see that as taking away from valuable time or I could see it as an opportunity to slow down and take care of myself and the team. I think that the results of those meetings were only improved by the fact that we all eased ourselves into them at the beginning.

Connecting with our deeper motivations

I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s really important to reflect on the reasons we start our businesses in the first place. I lose sight of these things when work gets stressful or overwhelming. A mindful moment that breaks through the cycle of rushing can sometimes give enough space for my deeper motivations to rise back up to the surface.

Owning my own business isn’t fun all the time. In fact, it can feel like it’s never fun a good portion of the time. 😅 But when I remove myself from the stress a little bit, I can see what the alternative would be: working in an office where everything is dictated by managers who are listening to their managers who are listening to their managers… and all the processes are infuriatingly inefficient, but no one wants to change them. In that moment, I can be a little more grateful for the problems I have as a business owner.

Remembering that we can always access a quiet moment 😌

Taking a moment for mindfulness and stepping into a calmer headspace can remind us that we always have access to that kind of break. It doesn’t take a fancy mindfulness retreat to give us a sense of calm, though that would be nice from time to time. 🧘

Having more mindfulness in your day-to-day life is mostly just remembering to pause and practice it. 🤷 That’s not to say that it’s easy, but it is simple.

It can be a comfort to know that a quiet place of retreat is so available, even if we choose not to use it sometimes. To-do lists can be long and projects can be behind schedule, but not feeling trapped in the panicky rush can be the difference between a bad day and a stressful but okay one.

Small ways to bring mindfulness to work

You don’t have to convert a meeting room to a yoga studio or make everyone “ohm” together at the start of meetings; you can start small and see what works for you and your team. Here are a few ideas of how you can encourage this kind of mindfulness without weirding anyone out.

Mini mindfulness before meetings

At the start of meetings, especially ones where you know there might be heightened emotions or stressful conversations, encourage everyone to ground themselves a bit. One of the things Al did that had a big impact was to remind us that we are all humans sitting in front of computers, and the real world is actually all around us, not inside this glowing screen

That reminder can seem kind of obvious, but we often get so sucked into our work and what’s going on in our apps and documents that we can forget that the rest of the world still exists. Looking up from the computer and noticing things around the room or outside a window can have the same effect. 

Maybe you start a meeting by reminding everyone that they are more than their little head in a Zoom window, or maybe you ask everyone to look around their surroundings and find 5 red objects. These small shifts can change the energy people bring to the important work they do after.

Encourage mindfulness breaks

We all know it’s important to stop, step away, and eat something for lunch (although I’m guilty of working through lunch more than I’d like to admit). But what about breaks for mindfulness? 

If you can, encourage your team to take mindfulness breaks. You could even make tasks in your project management software that make these kinds of breaks feel more important. If they’re assigned and have a due date, maybe people will feel more motivated to do them!

Share app recommendations (or even supply subscriptions)

Mindfulness and self-care are trendy right now, for better or worse, so the market is absolutely full of apps for different kinds of mindfulness. You could find apps to suggest to your team, or maybe there are apps that some of your employees already use and love. Ask around and then make a point of sharing these suggestions with everyone.

If there’s space in the budget, maybe even provide a subscription to a wellness app as part of your employee benefits. Businesses sometimes give access to apps like Calm to encourage wellness for their employees. Our copywriter Amy loves the Yoga app by Down Dog and uses it every day before she sits down at her laptop to work. Manny’s favorite is Pocket Yoga, and he highly recommends it.

🌿

In a world where most of us in the workforce feel some level of stress and anxiety, it’s important to encourage wellness wherever we can. It helps the bottom line to have folks who aren’t burnt out or overwhelmed, but it goes beyond that: we owe it to ourselves and each other to take care and help where we can. 

If you have apps you love or ways that your organization practices mindfulness, tell me about them in the comments. We’ll all be better for it.

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