Mindfulness, mental gymnastics to live in the present moment

When Eduardo García, director of Fundación Repsol‘s Institutional, Energy, and Sustainability area, created a meditation group at the Company, he had no doubts about his source of inspiration. He had read a book by  Chade Meng Tan, one of the founders of Google who everyone knew as “the Jolly Good Fellow,” called Search Inside Yourself which brings together his experience with meditation in corporate environments.

The aim? To promote emotional intelligence based on full consciousness and change our thinking habits to increase happiness. The world’s most cutting-edge and innovative companies have come to this conclusion: major companies including Apple, Google, Nike, and Twitter have implemented mindfulness programs with great success.

Eduardo was already a veteran in this discipline, which he had embraced to free himself of stress and improve both his personal and professional life. He followed the University of Massachusetts Stress Reduction Clinic program and, since then, has become a leader in these metal techniques which he has passed on to his colleagues.

He wanted to “establish a daily routine that would help employees to control their emotions and lower stress levels.” The Company fully understood the benefits of this practice and decided to implement a program to help its employees use this technique. November 25th marks the fifth anniversary of this initiative.

Concentrating your attention on how the air feels as you inhale and exhale is something that you can do for only a few consecutive minutes. Meditating is the back-and-forth movement towards concentration. “It’s like doing repetitions at the gym,” Eduardo sums up in one sentence.

In his opinion, anger, rage, frustration, or sadness are reactions, not answers: “We can only react when we understand what is happening.” And, to arrive at that stage, “we need strong mental resources trained through meditation.” It also helps us to keep our internal saboteur at bay. “That voice that constantly recriminates you: you’re going to do it wrong, you’re not going to have enough time, you’re not good enough…,” says Eduardo García.

When she started to become interested in mindfulness, Sandra Moreira wanted to improve her concentration, but it has given her much more than she expected: her relationship with her colleagues and circle of friends and family also improved. “My friends even noticed it and tell me that, since I’ve been meditating, I listen much more,” she affirms. Regular meditation has only increased her interest in this technique, which has become a key tool in her daily life: “The older you get, the more you need to learn to manage your life and emotions.”

Carmen Ferrer, Executive Secretary, is convinced that meditation improves her health: “My husband notices when I don’t meditate. If you’re stressed out, your attitude affects the people around you.” Since she started meditating she is a “different person” and admits that the people around her are grateful for it.

“Take a step back and look at yourself from the outside,” insists José Luis Hernández in support of his colleagues. Meditation and full consciousness have enabled this Operations specialist to know himself better, and this has made him happier: “Now I’m free to decide if I want to get angry or not.” His team has also benefited from his well-being as a result of meditation: “Discrepancies with others will always exist, but the key is to manage disagreements without negative emotions.”

Eduardo admits that: “meditation allows us to create a healthier environment. Fifteen minutes of daily meditation is worth your time even if it only slightly improves your satisfaction levels, something that affects how we act with others.”

Mindfulness in companies

 

In Spain, mindfulness is currently a technique practiced by a minority audience, according to a study carried out by Adecco Training. A mere 5% of Spanish workers exercise their brains, despite its numerous benefits.

 

The study also proved that practicing mindfulness can increase worker productivity by 20%. This figure results from the calculation affirming that, on average, each worker loses one hour and a half on distractions every day, which could be avoided if they focused their attention on the present moment.

 

The main benefits of mindfulness are:

  • Improves performance
  • Facilitates recovery from stress
  • Facilitates work
  • Enhances emotional intelligence
  • Increases efficiency

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