Bangalore, By Sharon S. Rajkumar, PhD: Endorsed by celebrity. Examined by the scientific community. Embraced by companies around the world. What is this mindfulness all about? It is simply the practice of focusing one’s attention on the moment and, without judgment, observing all aspects of the world around them as well as their thoughts, feelings, and reactions. It is moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment and acceptance without judging or believing that there’s a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to think or feel in a given moment.
Why did Happiest Minds get on this journey of mindfulness?
Launched in 2011 with the mission of “Happiest People. Happiest Customers” and with Core Values – SMILES (Sharing, Mindful, Integrity, Learning, Excellence and Social Responsibility), Happiest Minds adopted the concept of mindfulness as a commitment to our goal to be mindful in our approach to clients and team-members. We adopted “The Mindful IT Company’” as our tagline on the 5th anniversary of our launch while continuing on our journey in the exploration of happiness and how it can be enhanced in an organization.
Mindfulness is a worldwide movement and we are proud to be the first Indian IT company to consciously embrace this philosophy. A mindful company that offers individuals an environment to live in the moment and perform with purpose; its customers, a trustworthy partnership by living our core values; and the community, contributions as an empathetic corporate citizen. Our focus is on Being Mindful (Living In the Moment) and Doing Mindful which involves: Perceiving Immersively, Processing Non-judgmentally & Performing Empathetically.
Does mindfulness really work?
An increase in mindful behavior brings with it a variety of physical, psychological and social benefits. It improves creativity, innovative thinking and a sharp assessment of the current reality. Mindfulness in leaders can create workplace cultures that enable creativity and performance, resets the way we look at issues at hand and modifies the approach to innovate.
There are three main parts to our brain – the neocortex where creative thinking happens, the limbic system which processes our emotions, motivations and memories and the reptilian brain that is concerned with our survival and flight or fight responses.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce the reactivity of the reptilian brain and stimulate the neocortex, thereby enhancing our creative function. A regular meditation practice activates the mind to foster innovation in employee engagement and culture.
How has Mindfulness impacted Happiest Minds?
We have distilled the principles of mindfulness for Happiest Minds and identified tools and techniques that can be practiced on a daily basis. We encourage our people to set aside 60 minutes a week to explore, understand and imbibe the philosophy of mindfulness.
Training programs for Breath Watch (quietens an agitated mind by focusing on one’s breath), Mindful Listening (practices to increase non-judgmental listening), Third Mind Technique (builds empathy), Sense Walk (increases awareness of one’s surroundings) and Body Scan (paying attention to various parts of one’s body helps in sensing tension and enables one to feel relaxed and refreshed) help us realize the full potential of being mindful.
At the individual level, our people have reported health benefits like lower blood pressure, enhanced concentration, and elevated levels of empathy for others.
At the organisational level, it has helped build teamwork, trust, and acceptance of different points of view; it has increased our awareness of the impact of our actions on others and makes one responsive, rather than reactive.
Adoption of the Mindfulness theme has benefited Happiest Minds in two ways – Internal: People productivity & better operational efficiencies, and External: Benefits to brand & increased revenue.
Philosophies like ‘Happiness’ and ‘Mindfulness’ need investment of time, effort, and resource, to be internalized and institutionalized as actionable activities.
We believe that Happiness Evangelism and Mindfulness are two sides of the same coin. There are several IT firms across the world that practice ‘being mindful’ but here at Happiest Minds we encourage our people to also ‘do mindful’.
When people are happy at work, they are healthier and happier in life. Mindfulness opens up possibilities for not just the organization but the individual and is part of our continuing efforts towards our mission of “Happiest People. Happiest Customers.
About the author: Sharon S. Andrew, PhD, Happiness Evangelist, Happiest Minds Technologies
Sharon joined Happiest Minds as the “Happiness Evangelist”. She drives the Happiness Agenda across the organization. Her role is to extract the tenets of happiness into organizational practices, fuse the vast body of knowledge on Happiness and disseminate within the company, assess the effectiveness of the people practices through happiness quotients and drive improvements and assimilate the culture of the organization that is built on the key values of Sharing, Mindful, Integrity, Learning, Excellence and Social Responsibility (SMILES).
She has been with Happiest Minds since its inception in Aug 2011.
Prior to Happiest Minds, she has been a Professor for a decade and a half, most recently as also the Chairperson of the Post Graduate Program at Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Bangalore Campus where she covered various topics that include Quantitative Techniques, Employer Branding and Leadership. She has also been a Professor with the Christ College (now Christ University) – Institute of Management, Bangalore.