Regularly taking a few moments to come back to the present moment not only helps you to feel more at ease, contented and peaceful, it also improves your productivity, physical and mental well-being.
Numerous scientific studies confirm the benefits of taking regular, short breaks. For example:
- Studies by Gao et al (1990) and Floru and Cail (1987) concluded that performance starts to deteriorate after 50-60 minutes of continuous work. This trend can be reversed by taking rest breaks every 40 minutes at least.
- Balci & Aghazadeh (2003) found that the use of "micro-breaks" (ie. lasting 20-30 seconds) among data entry workers increased speed, accuracy and performance.
- Numerous controlled studies (Zwahlen et al. 1984, Sundelin et al. 1986, Sundelin and Hagberg 1989) demonstrate that musculoskeletal discomfort, eyestrain and physical tension are reduced immediately after taking rest breaks. Such breaks provide relief from the pain and discomfort due to sustained computer use, which affect up to 60% of people using computers.
- Henning et al (1997) concluded that short breaks which include physical activity (ie. stretching) are more effective than rest breaks. (That's why we have a Stretch version of Stillness Buddy! ;-)
- Interestingly, studies have also found that results are improved when we are reminded to take breaks. McLean, Tingley and Rickards (2001) found that scheduled breaks were generally more effective than leaving workers to to take breaks at their own discretion.
Taking a moment to become more mindful is an important benefit in itself. Over the last few years, a large number of studies have confirmed that the practice of mindfulness leads to enhanced performance, an improved sense of well-being, reduced stress and burnout, and increased ability to remain calm in difficult work situations.
Research has shown that the practice of mindfulness result in:
- Greater insight, receptivity, balance and clarity for oneself and others (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, 2003)
- Greater leadership presence and authenticity (Langer, 2005; Santorelli, 2000)
- Increased energy and sense of well-being and expands awareness and range of our responses (Kabat-Zinn and Santorelli, 2002)
- Increased life span, greater creativity and lesser burnout (Langer, 1989)
- Improves interpersonal relationships at work (Hunter and McCormick, 2009).
You may want to read how Stillness Buddy started.