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Mindfulness meditation—even in small doses—increases generosity and compassion

Mindfulness meditation has hit the mainstream.

Countless workplaces are getting in on the trend, offering directed mindfulness programs to help their employees alleviate anxiety, reduce stress, regulate emotions and improve focus.

It turns out that those reflective sessions have a social benefit, too. Mindfulness meditation also makes people more generous, helpful and compassionate, according to a new study by Andrew Hafenbrack, an assistant professor of management at Foster.

His study of workers in North America, Europe and Asia indicates that even a single, brief session of mindfulness meditation—an exercise usually practiced for one’s internal welfare—results in more positive social behaviors.

“In today’s demanding and uncertain job environment, kindness and positive relationships are more important than ever in organizations,” says Hafenbrack. “Our study finds that as little as one session of mindfulness practice enhances pro-social behaviors, and those behaviors are likely to improve the work lives of not only those who practice meditation, but their also colleagues and customers.”

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.