Faith at Work

It is possible to be spiritual at the office

An unspoken phenomenon is resurfacing in the workplace, and slowly forcing corporations to rethink their strategies and adjust their visions. It’s spirituality, a path many employees have found to attaining mental stability and self-empowerment. And while spirituality in the workplace isn’t new, the attitude toward it is taking on a whole new complexion.

Many professionals find that embracing certain spiritual practices, such as meditation and yoga, helps to ease the stress caused by the constant pressure to perform at their peaks. Debra Hall, accounts receivable coordinator at CNBC television in Fort Lee, New Jersey, increases productivity by “reading my Bible and following up with a prayer.” And when she’s having a less-than-perfect day, “I’ll sip chamomile tea [known for its calming effect] and read various affirmations to help me regain my focus,” says Hall, 36.

“Although there’s a general taboo associated with the concept of spirituality in the workplace,” says William Guillory, president and CEO of Innovations International Inc., a Salt Lake City consulting firm, “many executives are spiritual ‘closet cases.’” In an informal study conducted at a well-known Fortune 500 company, eight out of 10 employees surveyed claimed to be very spiritual. “It’s not uncommon to find these types of individuals reading self-help books or participating in spiritual activities, such as yoga.”

Even if your organization doesn’t have a spiritually based culture, you can still adapt your practices to the larger environment. Guillory offers six ways you can incorporate spirituality into your workday:

  • Take five to 10 minutes each day to center yourself through meditation or other stress-reducing techniques that work for you.
  • When things get stressful, pause to take a deep breath and reflect on something positive.
  • Reconcile your behavior to your spiritually sourced values and try to maintain consistency between the two. For example, don’t be a water-cooler regular if you claim to shun gossip.
  • Take an enrichment course and apply the learning to your everyday work life.
  • Be more compassionate toward others. For example, don’t readily dismiss a colleague who comes to you to vent. You can take five minutes out of your schedule to listen.
  • Adopt conservation techniques if you find yourself wasting your company’s resources, such as paper or other office supplies.
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