Mindfulness may improve interactions with coworkers, study finds

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Experts say this may also benefit employees’ performance at work

A new study conducted by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University explored how consumers can improve their relationships with their coworkers. According to their findings, practicing mindfulness may improve interactions among coworkers, which in turn can lead to improvements in their work roles. 

“An understanding of how individuals bring mindfulness with them to work, and how these practices may contribute to interaction and relationship quality, is especially relevant as work landscapes are ever-changing and interdependence is increasingly becoming the norm,” said researcher Christopher S. Reina, Ph.D. 

Improving workplace relationships

For the study, the researchers conducted several formal and informal interviews. They spoke with consultants, managers, and professionals that practice mindfulness about their experiences in the workplace as well as other individuals who prioritize mindfulness at work. 

The researchers learned that mindfulness can have important benefits in the workplace. They found that efforts like being an attentive listener or taking a mindful moment before the start of a meeting can have a ripple effect on workplace performance and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. 

“Interestingly, interviewees noted how other individuals around them had noticed the emotional effects of their mindful behaviors on interactions and relationships,” said Reina. “We found initial evidence that our interviewees’ efforts towards bringing their mindfulness into the workplace were seen by their colleagues as having a positive effect.” 

These improved relationships resulted in improved individual functioning and better group outcomes. 

“Mindfulness reminds us that our thoughts and emotions are complex,” Reina said. “They are contextualized by prior events experienced within a social environment, and within this social environment, individuals must be aware of both their own and others’ thoughts and emotions in order to navigate these complexities with skill and compassion.” 

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