“Mindfulness” has entered our lexicon in the past decade as an effective solution to stress and expectations of round-the-clock work availability, as well as the constant distractions of modern life, including social media, texting and a relentless news cycle. Studies suggest that practicing meditation, breathing or simple awareness of the present moment while on the job can not only help us feel more relaxed, but also increase focus and attention span, expand working memory and enhance our connection to others.
As the founder and CEO of Simple Habit, a platform dedicated to mental wellness, Yunha Kim is on a mission to help bring mindfulness into people’s everyday working lives. Simple Habit gathers the world’s leading professionals in meditation, therapy and coaching into one place in order to provide bite-size audio content to help individuals cope with work stress and the rest of life’s challenges.
Her dream to build Simple Habit was born from her personal struggles with work stress, says Kim. While creating her first startup, Locket, she found herself working long hours, which led to problems focusing and sleeping. She decided to try meditation, and it changed her life. She was better able to focus at work and sleep at night. Generally, she felt more present and happier.
However, Kim noticed there was no existing platform where she could get mindfulness and wellness content from a variety of world-class experts. “I set out to create the Spotify for meditation, focusing on five-minute meditations that busy people can use for any situation or mood,” she explains. “As we’ve learned more about our users, our vision at Simple Habit has evolved to be even bigger. We’ve learned that beneath the desire to meditate is an even greater human desire to manage stress, improve well-being, and feel happier.”
Kim can find it challenging to stay grounded and balanced while running a startup. Due to limited time and financial resources, and the incredibly fast pace of the modern business environment, she says work can feel like a roller coaster. For Kim, resilience is key. She builds that resilience through engaging in the very mindfulness practices her platform promotes.
Kim offers these seven tips for building a mindfulness and meditation practice at work:
1. Start with five minutes.
It’s a common misconception that to meditate, you need to sit for long periods of time. That’s not true. You can meditate anytime and anywhere, even while commuting, during your lunch break or before giving a presentation.
2. Learn to associate five-minute meditations with stressful moments throughout your day.
Whenever you are faced with a challenging task ahead, such as talking to a difficult boss or employee, take a moment to pause, breathe and clear your mind first. Don’t just jump into it.
3. Aim for consistency.
Even as little as one week of brief, five-minute meditations each day can bring about improvements in your attention and energy, and can also lower your stress. Giving yourself this time will help prevent major burnout. As you build a meditation habit, you will start to become more aware of when stress is bubbling up and what you can do with your mind, body and breath to manage it in the moment.
4. Mark your calendar.
Like any great habit, consistency is key. Put five minutes of mindfulness into your calendar every day and set a reminder! This is especially helpful when you’re stuck in auto-go mode or when your schedule becomes overwhelmed with a million meetings and to-dos.
5. Find your space.
I used to use our office couch to meditate and encouraged our team members to do the same. But some of our employees prefer to use one of our conference rooms to have more privacy and stillness. Find the space that feels comfortable for you. This could be at your desk, in a meeting room, or even at a nearby park. Ask your office manager to help you find a set space for your new daily habit.
6. Invite your team to join.
Meditation is proven to help reduce stress, sharpen focus and improve productivity. Set up a daily time and invite your team to join you in group meditations. You can also start your weekly team meetings with a one-minute meditation. By incorporating meditation into your team’s schedule, you can help foster a happier, healthier and more productive environment for the whole office.
7. For leaders, be open about your practice.
Leaders have an opportunity to make workplace meditation more commonplace simply by opening up about their own practice. Take time to meditate at work and share about your experience. This will help some of your employees to feel more comfortable (even inspired) to do the same.
Kim feels that with Simple Habit, she has tapped into her life purpose. “I love that our company is on a mission to help everyone live better, every day,” she says. “I believe everyone deserves access to experts that offer advice and techniques to improve daily well-being. My career is solving the very problem I had in my own life. The greatest reward has been impacting human lives in a positive way.”
To other people looking to align their career with their life purpose, Kim offers this advice. “Mission is very important. If you’re looking at a new company, ask yourself if you’re passionate about the company’s mission. Hard days are inevitable, but believing in your work makes them worth it.”
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.