Balancing Act: Working With ‘Mindfulness Reduces Stress in the Workplace’

By Cindy Krischer Goodman
The Miami Herald

A few years ago, when Miami attorney Paul Singerman received a hostile email from opposing counsel, he would react with an immediate terse response.

Not anymore. “The first thing I do is nothing,” he explained. Then, he said, he takes a deep breath, processes both his mental and physical reaction, and thinks carefully about how to stop the negative dynamic taking shape.

For Singerman, reflecting before reacting is the first step in practicing mindfulness, a stress-busting technique quickly spreading in workplaces across the country.

In the rush to accomplish multiple tasks or respond to job pressures, people often lose connection with the present moment. They stop being attentive to what they’re doing or feeling, and react from a place of stress. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing awareness on the present moment.

Teaching and encouraging mindfulness in the workplace has become a part of corporate efforts to reduce the stresses that can lead to burnout. Increasingly, the practice has gone mainstream, buoyed by the recent endorsements of CEOs, educators, actors and politicians who link mindfulness to improved psychological and even physical health.

Singerman said not only is he working on mastering mindfulness, his law firm, Berger Singerman, has sponsored workshops for clients, employees and colleagues. “I really believe mindfulness can make you more effective and enhance your prospects for success,” he said.

Singerman’s own experience with mindfulness has been cultivated over 2 years and has helped him become a better listener and more observant person, he said.

Businesses have bottom-line reasons to embrace it. Using mindfulness at work can make for a happier employee, according to Sharon Salzberg, author of the book “Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace.”

Salzberg believes mindfulness can be applied in any career and says once an employee trains his mind, all kinds of conscious moments of awareness start seeping into the workplace.

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