Companies are losing billions each year due to employee stress and absenteeism. Recognizing this, business leaders are looking for ways to balance the need to succeed with the importance of employee mental well-being. Company meeting rooms are giving way to meditation sessions and yoga classes.
Offering employees a time to clear the calendar in order to clear the mind suggests that the new metric of success for business life really starts with our thinking.
Meditation and prayer have both been shown in numerous scientific studies to be important components to living longer and staying healthy. It only makes sense that they would also contribute to a healthier work force.
Some people have long integrated prayer or some form of mindfulness in their work life; for some, it is a new venture. But this mental exercise is about focus and discipline, traits that are very relevant to successful business performance.
Why? My experience with prayer tells me that it helps us acknowledge an infinite spiritual source to draw upon rather that a limited personal sense of wisdom in making business decisions.
Prayer need not conform to a religion. It can be as simple as taking a moment to reflect that there is a Divine power able to raise our thought above the clamour of everyday events and fill us with an abundance of intelligent solutions.
This approach proved useful for Craig, when he was appointed as a Director of his firm. Combining the day-to-day responsibilities of operating a business – the pressure to meet deadlines along with the delicate issues presented by a variety of human relations – led him to self- doubt and a sense of overwhelming responsibility.
In addition to the growing expectations at work was a growing family at home and financial commitments that only increased his anxiety and worry.
However, Craig was familiar with using prayer to cope with doubts and fears. He began to take dedicated time in his day to recognize his connection to a divine source of inspiration and guiding intelligence. He started to realize he could let go of the personal sense of working harder and feeling like he was getting nowhere – there was another source to lean on.
Today, Craig says the weight of personal responsibility has greatly lifted – replacing anxiety and stress with health and well-being. While it continues to be a work in progress, he says, clients and staff frequently acknowledge a sense of peace and calmness in the workplace. The business has grown and prospered.
Perhaps the Psalmist, centuries ago, gave us a base for recognition of the one Spirit who really does the work: “the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands…. the Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous.” (Deut. 30:9 NIV)
Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-chief of Huffington Post and Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini are just two among many successful industry leaders who have brought this new metric – i.e. setting aside a dedicated quiet time to organize thoughts and feelings – of well-being into their lives.
This more mindful approach to business could be the single most important tool for individual health and corporate success. It’s a real game-changer.