Mindfulness is paying attention in the present without judgement. Because the present is the most powerful resource we have.
For thousands of years, people have used mindfulness practices—techniques to develop awareness of present experience with acceptance—to deal effectively with a wide range of life challenges. A large and fascinating body of scientific research now validates the benefits of mindfulness and its value in the workplace.
Mindfulness is showing up to be your best self. But that takes practice.
Here are 15 fascinating studies on the science of mindfulness.
- 1,000,000,000 heartbeats is the lifespan of every living creature. The idea is to make the most and appreciate every one. (Copper Beach Institute)
- 2,000,000 American practice mindfulness. (American Mindfulness Research Association)
- 70,000 events is how many, on average, every human brain experiences every day. (Aware)
- 15,000 employees at Aetna have participated in at least one mindfulness meditation class. Those who have report, on average, a 28% reduction in their stress levels, a 20% improvement in sleep quality and a 19% reduction in pain. They also have become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each. Aetna estimates it’s worth $3,000 per employee per year. (NY Times)
- 4,000 scientific papers were combed through by researchers to write “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work,” which was published in the Journal of Management. Their main conclusion? Mindfulness is linked to better workplace function because it heightens the ability to concentrate, pay attention, and listen. It also positively impacts work relationships and the ability to work in teams. (Omega)
- 500 employees at General Mills attend a Mindful Leadership program, created by General Mills’ deputy general counsel, Janice Marturano. According to the company’s self-report data: “After one of Marturano’s seven-week courses, 83% of participants said they were ‘taking time each day to optimize my personal productivity’ – up from 23% before the course. 82% said they now make time to eliminate tasks with limited productivity value – up from 32% before the course. And among senior executives who took the course, 80 percent reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89% said they became better listeners.” (Financial Times)
- 342 people, in a study, aged 20 to 70 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that participants using Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) had greater improvement in function and back pain compared to the group that remained in standard care. (Omega)
- 200 employees Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), a global law firm with around 5,000 employees, have gone through the 6-week HSF mindfulness program in the last 14 months. They saw “a 12% increase in employee focus; a 10% increase in employee performance; a 10% increase in employee efficiency; a 17% increase in employee work/life balance; an 11% increase in employee communication skills; a 14% decrease in employee multitasking.” (L&D Professional)
- 120 pieces of information is how much our mind can process every second (Psychology Today)
- 89 participants from the Dow Chemical Company were selected and randomly assigned to an online mindfulness intervention (n = 44) or wait-list control (n = 45). The results of the intervention found “the group had significant decreases in perceived stress as well as increased resiliency, and vigor. This online mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in decreasing employee stress, while improving resiliency, vigor, and work engagement, thereby enhancing overall employee well-being.” (Association for Talent Development)
- 50% of the time we are distracted (Copper Beach Institute)
- 20 fold increase in mindfulness research since the millennium began. (Psychology Today)
- After an 8-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, started to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. (Scientific American)
- 3-4 seconds is how long average present moments last now before our minds drift to other thoughts (Psychology Today)
- A 2-point decrease (on a 10-point scale) at Intel in stress, 3 point increase in overall happiness and well being, and a 2-point increase in having new ideas and insights, mental clarity, creativity, the ability to focus, the quality of relationships at work and the level of engagement in meetings, projects and collaboration efforts is report among 1,500 employees at Intel who have taken part in a mindfulness program (The Guardian)
- When two groups were compared– those who practiced regular mindfulness relaxation techniques, and those who didn’t– they found the people who engaged in meditative mindfulness practices had more active genes that protected them from things like infertility, high blood pressure, arthritis, pain, inflammation and even cancer. (Harvard Medical School).
Do these studies increase your interest? Are you interested in showing up to be your best self?