10 December 2018

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Mindfulness: Is Jiminy Cricket on your Shoulder?

Posted on 23/10/2016 by Jannine Smart in Coaching strategic HR

It’s quite the buzz word at the moment ‘MINDFULNESS’ but what does it actually mean? The Wikipedia translation: “The psychological process of bringing one's attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training”. Read more....

In essence it is the bringing together of mind and body experiences through training involving sitting quietly and paying attention to your thoughts, sounds and breathing - bringing your attention back when your mind starts to wander, which it is claimed enables people to change the way they think and feel about experiences. Mental exercise if you like!

Growing in popularity companies such as Google, Apple, Sony & Ikea have adopted mindfulness mediation as part of their employee packages and claim it has improved engagement, increased productivity & reduced sickness absence.

Studies of mindfulness linked with well-being and general health, indicate that rumination & worrying about things can contribute to mental illness such as depression & anxiety, with ‘mindfulness’ interventions being effective in reducing rumination & worry. (Source: Guardian)

But it’s not all positive reading….with other parties claiming that it has led to inducing negative experiences for some individuals such as paranoia, confusion and depression!

So in essence it’s all about thinking about how we can help ourselves to deal with issues when they become problems.

So how could this translate into the workplace? Let’s think about familiar negative issues that occur in the workplace, sometimes they relate to commercial, financial or technological problems but more often than not they relate to people, our colleagues, leadership styles and team issues.

The way that we deal and react to problems will obviously influence the outcome e.g. if we encounter negativity/difficulty how would we normally react? Become angry, defensive, disappointed, run away or disengage from the situation?

Mindfulness is about building your own resilience, kindness and compassion, stopping that ‘immediate reaction or judgement’, taking time to consider responses, looking at the situation from different perspectives - perhaps discussing different options with colleagues.

Similar to coaching it gives you time to consider your choices, options, what is most important, what do you care about? With research indicating it can also significantly improve decision-making and reduce stress (something we all want in our workplace).

Whether you decide mindfulness is for you or not – exercising your brain, pushing boundaries, showing kindness and compassion, getting off the merry-go-round or switching off the voices in your head every once in a while must be a healthy thing for us all to consider doing from time to time?
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