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Mindfully yours…. Helping employees get the best out of themselves.

It’s a big busy and bustling day. You can’t wait for the kids to get on the school bus and rush back home. There are too many things to do, getting out in next 30 minutes and heading straight to office, working on the review presentation for the next week’s meeting, preparing for the vendor meet planned in the next two week, targets to be achieved for the current quarter, five aggrieved customers to attend to ASAP, not to mention working on the business development plan long overdue.

Can you relate to this? The must - dos may differ but the pace, race and rush experienced by most professionals hardly change. And while we struggle to achieve all the future endeavors, we find ourselves losing touch with the present, the here and now slipping away from our hands, hearts and minds…

Welcome to a Mindless Existence…

While cutting out these real challenges from life is hardly a workable solution for most of us, living each instant to the fullest, with greater awareness and acceptance of the moment as it comes- Mindfully- is definitely something that each one of us can cultivate;

Enter the world of Mindful Living…

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been around since ancient times and has in the past been associated to religiosity and spirituality. Having its roots in Buddhism, Mindfulness is a process of meditation that helps you train awareness to foster general well-being and an enhanced productivity. Mindful meditation goes closer to Vipassana, a form derived from Theravada Buddhism. The primary focus of Mindfulness training involves applying one’s attention to one’s bodily sensations, emotions, thoughts and environment.

Awareness and attention to the moment to moment happenings by withholding judgments of events as good or bad are the essence of mindfulness training. As an example, if in a boardroom meeting a colleague is subtly critical of all ideas that you present, mindfulness would consist of noticing and being aware of his resistance to your ideas without judging either the event or the colleague as good or bad.


Does Mindfulness Training have an application at workplace?

While the efficacy of mindfulness has been widely acknowledged by medical and mental health professionals, Human Resource Professionals are also viewing it as a promising tool to enhance employee engagement and productivity. Multinational giants such as Transport for London (TfL), Google, GlaxoSmithKline, Ernest and Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been steadily investing and encouraging employees to adopt mindfulness techniques to enhance quality of life. The much talked about mindfulness training branded at Google by the name of Search Inside Yourself program, the meditation room available to employees at Twitter and the meditational way of beginning the day at Bharat Petroleum are some of the examples of endorsement of the potential that mindfulness offers to enhance employee wellness.

So what does an Organization do?

  1. Convince all Stakeholders: The top management needs to be convinced by a well prepared cost benefit analysis and the positive benefits that organizations worldwide are reaping. Such a buy-in ensures a steady flow of resources needed for the initiative to sustain.
  2. Fight skepticism gently: Even the most evolved workplace such as Google faced initial hurdles in the acceptance of Mindfulness training when presented as a stress reduction avenue. The initial reaction of skepticism if weathered off can convert in to acceptance and admiration.
  3. Provide a structured platform: Offering a structured Mindfulness Meditational training program followed by a committed space and time for such practice also reiterates the importance that organization attaches to this initiative.

So what should an Individual do to practice mindfulness?

  1. Mindful Meditation: The most comprehensive way of working on mindfulness involves regular meditative practice. Trying to observe our mind wander in different directions and bringing it back to the sensation in the here and now can definitely be challenging initially but can be imbibed over a period of time.
  2. Practice Breathing or Pranayam regularly. Be aware of the all the bodily sensations during the breath-in and Breath-out process.
  3. Work on Observational skills: The presence in the here and now can be enhanced by purposefully observing activities and motions that you go through very regularly. For example
    • While travelling, switch off your mobiles and pay complete attention to bodily sensations as well as the external stimuli acting upon you and register them completely
    • Take breaks…from the cell phone and other devices and take a walk just to be with oneself
    • Try not to multitask too often.

Thus to conclude, while life would never stop throwing its endless challenges at us, it is our ability to transcend our past and delineate our future to make the best of our present. As rightly said in Buddhism, “Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.”, and Mindfulness in one way to attain such peace.

References

  1. Glomb, T. M., Duffy, M.K., Bono, J.E., & Yang, T. (2011). Mindfulness At Work, Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Volume 30, 115–157
  2. Davis, M.D & Hayes, J.A. (2011), What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research, Psychotherapy, Vol. 48, No. 2, 198–208
  3. Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity, An Interview with Ellen Langer by Alison Beard, http://hbr.org/2014/03/mindfulness-in-the-age-of-complexity/ar/1
  4. Reduce Stress with Mindfulness, blog article by Maria Gonzalez, author of Mindful Leadership,http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/reduce-stress-with-mindfulness/
Dr. Deepika Dabke (Dec. 2014)

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Mindfulness, mindful living, mindful existence, meditation, buddhism, Observational skills, awareness, peace of mind, breathing