Include charity in the mindfulness mix

 
Gillian Murray
Will.I.am Meets Prince's Trust Members
What better way to encourage positivity than by investing time in a worthwhile cause? (Source: Getty)

Chances are you’ll know what mindfulness is.

The trend has dominated headlines and social media feeds in recent years, and those of us seeking more calm in our hectic lives are downloading mindfulness apps in a bid to improve our outlook.

Businesses are also getting behind the movement, bringing mindfulness and meditation programmes to the workplace, and in some cases offering customised training to meet the specific needs of their teams.

But if the core objective is to reduce anxiety and stress, companies could do well to include charitable initiatives in the mindfulness mix.

The movement doesn’t have to be contained to yoga and breathing exercises. It’s about encouraging positivity and happiness, and what better way to do this than by putting your time to a worthwhile cause?

Shiny happy employees

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people volunteering is 41 per cent among men, and 42 per cent among women.

A decade ago, we were surprised when our business members reported that they were happier after using their skills to support small charities through our programme.

But it has since been shown that engaging in charitable initiatives helps reduce stress levels, improve emotional wellbeing, and may even benefit physical health.

Data from the ONS also shows that a more content workforce can help boost productivity levels and support business growth.

It’s even been suggested the economy would get a £24bn annual boost if the workforce were just one per cent happier.

We now track the outcomes of employees who are involved in charitable schemes. Last year, 92 per cent of our business members reported an increased sense of wellbeing and happiness, and 72 per cent experienced increased job satisfaction.

Second nature

Charity leaders are passionate and driven in support of their cause, but can find it difficult to step back from their daily work in order to plan.

Some will therefore seek support from Pilotlight to develop their strategic thinking.

For business executives, strategic planning is second nature, and there is huge value to bringing this charity and business expertise together in a meaningful way.

Business leaders may have reached a high point in their careers, but many of our members initally feel that they have little to offer small charities.

But it’s all about using both the professional and life skills that have been gained from working in a corporate environment.

To be successful in the business world, leaders have to strategise and be forward-thinking. And while charities are experts in their own fields, they often need more business knowledge.

Doing good does employees good

Finding the right opportunity is key. At Pilotlight, we believe in a managed, skills-giving programme that recognises our business members are time-poor and skills-rich and the leverage effect of using those skills effectively. But there are many other opportunities to explore.

So, consider alternatives to creating healthier mindsets, reduced stress levels, and improved wellbeing – the core pillars of mindfulness.

There is real power in connecting with the world around you and giving back in a way that may well improve your outlook on life.

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