How to support mindfulness and resilience in your organization
By: Trish McFarlane
It’s no secret that the past years have been some of the most difficult in recent memory. With a pandemic raging on, civil and social unrest, and economic hardships globally, people are feeling overloaded and stressed — making mindful resilience more important than ever.
According to the latest Limeade Employee Care Report on the Great Resignation, 40% of employees cited burnout as a top reason for leaving their job. Organizations are struggling with the challenge of hiring and retaining top talent. As a result, they are being even more strategic in the way they nurture their culture so that employees feel safe and secure.
Today, leaders focus on how to alleviate stressors on their employees with mindful ways to build resilience, even when it seems like those stressors are insurmountable. These leaders are looking for ways to create a culture where employees feel cared for. Research shows that employees care for themselves more when their employer cares for them. In fact, research has found that when employees feel cared for, 94% say they feel personally engaged in their work. Technology like Limeade is one way to give leaders the ability to support every aspect of the employee experience and show care.
The caring approach that can help during times of great challenge is one of teaching and encouraging mindful resilience. Mindfulness and resilience work together. Resilience is the act of adapting to unforeseen challenges and coming through it successfully. The mindfulness aspect adds that you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, then come to acceptance of them. You may be a little battered or worn afterward, but you’ll have new experience and perspective as a result.
4 Benefits of mindful resilience
There have been numerous studies that state the benefits of mindfulness and resilience. Here are a few examples of how resilient minds can improve both work and life:
1. Better sleep
Sleep interruptions are something many people struggle with. According to the Center for Disease Control, “About 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. Lack of sleep is associated with injuries, chronic diseases, mental illnesses, poor quality of life and well-being, increased health care costs, and lost work productivity. Sleep problems are major contributors to some chronic conditions, including obesity and depression but are rarely addressed.” Sleep disturbances can be caused by medications, health conditions, age or lifestyle. One of the easiest ways to improve your sleep is to practice mindful resilience. Acknowledging your feelings and working through solutions allows your brain and body to rest.
2. Better relationships
When you care about yourself, you are better equipped to care for others. Studies have shown that mindfulness and resilience have a positive impact on your satisfaction with people you have relationships with. It also helps you to better deal with relationship stressors.
3. More patience
Being more aware and accepting of your feelings and thoughts aids in being less judgmental. Mindfulness and resilience training often leads to having more patience with the people you interact with.
4. Better problem solver
Cognitive abilities improve as your stress levels reduce. Employees are also known to have increased creativity in solving problems when they practice mindful ways to build resilience at work.
7 Steps to take to support resilient minds
By using techniques to promote mindful behavior and encourage mindfulness at work, you see the results mentioned above and more. Here are some steps you can start today to support mindfulness and resilience in your organization:
Well-being solutions like Limeade give leaders the ability to provide resources to promote and support employee wellness. It can provide mental health resources, help reduce turnover and give solutions to decrease burnout.
Meditation apps can give employees a way to take a moment to focus while at work, at home or on the go. They also support employees in practicing mindful ways to build resilience.
Self-reflection encourages employees to celebrate their strengths and focus on improving any weak areas. Build time into each employee’s day where there are no meetings so they can reflect on projects, relationships or clients.
Writing or journaling encourages employees to think through stressors before acting with others. It promotes introspection and creative solutions.
Giving a time limit to fears is a practice to encourage employees to acknowledge fears but not dwell on them indefinitely.
Talk to people who like change or seem to do well with it. Ask how they handle stressful situations, get tips on relaxation techniques or find out how they identify the benefits of change.
Regular exercise can build resilience. A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience found evidence to back up a long-held belief that exercise benefits mental health and a resilient mind in stressful situations. While this study is far from definitive proof, it does point to specific chemical changes in the brains of mice subjected to exercise. Regular exercise in people has been found to have positive physical health benefits and releases endorphins in the brain to contribute to better mental response.
The exercise of building resilient minds is one which needs to be thought of and nurtured daily because as a population, we are still not fully recovered from the pandemic impacts. According to a recent Employment Situation Summary from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent in October. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.4 million, continued to trend down. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020).”
While people are feeling disconnected due to workplace changes, we’re starting to see glimmers of hope of a better workplace situation soon. Some healthcare, hospitality and transportation workers have been working in dangerous situations since the pandemic began. Other employees are in new hybrid or full remote working situations. There is also the added stress of jobs being lost, difficulty in finding new jobs and the upcoming holiday season. It can be too much for anyone to deal with. The key to success is for employees to acknowledge their feelings, then make a conscious choice to move toward resilience and find mindful ways to build resilience. You can only overcome what you acknowledge.
Free burnout playbook
Learn more about how to tackle your workplace burnout challenges by visiting our ultimate guide for overcoming employee burnout.
Learn about the business impact of emotional wellness in the workplace, and get 6 strategies to improve mental health at work.
About the author
Trish McFarlane is the CEO and Principal Analyst for H3 HR Advisors, is co-host of The HR Happy Hour podcast network alongside Steve Boese, and is also the creator of the HR Happy Hour WORK BREAK! daily vlog.