Mindfulness — being focused and fully present in the here and now — is good for
individuals and good for a business's bottom line.
How can people practice it
in a workplace where multitasking is the norm and concerns for future profits
can add to workplace stress?
"Even if a company doesn't make it part of the culture, employees and
managers can substitute their multitasking habits with mindfulness in order to
reduce stress and increase productivity," says Dr. Romie Mushtaq, a neurologist
with expertise in mind-body medicine and mindful living.
"The result that you and your colleagues will notice is that you're sharper,
more efficient and more creative," she says.
"Dr. Romie," as she is known, says the physiological benefits of clearing
away distractions and living in the moment have been documented in many
scientific and medical studies.
"Practicing mindfulness, whether it's simply taking deep breaths, or actually
meditating or doing yoga, has been shown to alter the structure and function of
the brain, which is what allows us to learn, acquire new abilities and improve
memory," she says. "Advances in neuroimaging techniques have taught us how these
mindfulness-based techniques affect neuroplasticity.
"Multitasking, on the other hand, depresses the brain's memory and analytical
functions, and it reduces blood flow to the part of the right temporal lobe,
which contributes to our creative thinking. In today's marketplace, creativity
is key for innovation, sustainability and leadership."
Dr. Romie offers these tips for practicing mindfulness in a multitasking
You might say, "For 15 minutes, I'm going to
read through my emails, and then for one hour, I'm going to make my phone
calls," she says.
If your job comes with constant interruptions that demand your attention,
take several deep breaths and then prioritize them. Resist the urge to
answer the phone every time it rings —
unless it's your boss. If someone asks you to drop what you're doing to help
with a problem, it's OK to tell them, "I'll be finished with what I'm doing
in 10 minutes, then I'm all yours."
When you get "stuck" in a task, change your physical environment to
stimulate your senses. Sometimes we bounce from one task to another
because we just don't have the words to begin writing that strategic plan,
or we're staring at a problem and have no ideas for solutions.
"That's the time to get up, take a walk outside and look at the flowers and
the birds — change what you're seeing," Dr. Romie says. "Or turn on some
relaxing music that makes you feel happy."
Offering your senses pleasant and different stimulation rewires your brain
for relaxation and reduces the effects of stress hormones, which helps to
unfreeze your creativity center.
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We often have
little control over the external stresses in our life,
particularly on the job. How can you not multitask when five
people want five different things from you at the same time?
"Have compassion for yourself, and reach out for help," Dr.
Romie says. "If you can assign a task to somebody else who's
capable of handling it, do so. If you need to ask a colleague to
help you out, ask!"
This will not only allow you to focus on the tasks that most
need your attention, it will reduce your stress.
"And who knows? The colleague you're asking for help may want to
feel appreciated and part of your team!"
While it is possible to practice mindfulness in a hectic
workplace, Dr. Romie says she encourages business leaders to make it
part of the company culture. Stress-related illnesses are the No. 1
cause of missed employee workdays.
"Offering mindfulness training and yoga classes or giving people
time and a place to meditate is an excellent investment," she says.
"Your company's performance will improve, you'll see a reduction in
stress-related illnesses, and you'll be a more successful
Dr. Romie Mushtaq is a mind-body medicine physician and
neurologist. She did her medical education and training at the
Medical University of South Carolina, University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center and University of Michigan, where she won numerous
teaching and research awards. She brings to healing both her
expertise of traditional Western medical training and Eastern
modalities of mindfulness. She is currently a corporate health
consultant and professional health and wellness life coach at the
Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine in Orlando, Fla. She is
also an international professional speaker, addressing corporate
audiences, health and wellness conferences, and nonprofit
organizations. Her website is
[Text from file received from
News and Experts]