Wondering how to build more mindfulness into your day? If it’s possible or where to start? We show you how with our super easy infographic. We’ll guide you through 5 steps to get you started on your mindfulness journey.
What is mindfulness? You’ve heard about mindfulness but maybe you’re not sure exactly what it is. Perhaps you know someone who practices it but you’re not quite sure what they do? Or does it all sound a bit nebulous? Worry not, we’ve produced a handy infographic to walk you through the mindfulness basics. Take a look and the next time someone talks to you about mindfulness, you’ll be able to talk about it like a pro.
Ever wondered what a mindful workplace is or how to create one? We give you the skinny with our step by step infographic and talk you through some easy to use mindfulness at work hacks to get you started. Here’s how to create a mindful workplace.
We’re really excited to announce that we’re now offering our Mindful Leadership courses in Cumbria and London! And if you’re wondering what mindful leadership is all about, or if it’s for you, read on.
Leaders today operate in an increasingly VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex & ambiguous) world. We know from research and personal experience that the world is changing at an unprecedented rate. The corporate world has seen an explosion of interest in mindfulness over the past 10 years but what is it and how can it enhance your leadership? Mindful leadership training provides an opportunity for you to find a way to navigate the terrain of modern leadership.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the awareness of what is happening as it’s happening. It’s the ability to recognise and step out of autopilot. To move from the usual default mode of constantly doing to being present in the moment. A self-observation of thoughts, self talk, feelings and emotions without judgement allowing you to clear the mental clutter providing greater clarity of thinking and decision making.
Why use Positive Change Guru?
It’s likely that you’ll already have heard of mindfulness or know someone who practices it. Many organisations have developed their own programmes. We’ve worked internationally with organisations such as Deloitte, UKSport, Spotify, ICAEW, London School of Economics, Goldsmiths University, WaterAid and even the Victoria and Albert Museum amongst others to design and deliver mindfulness at work programmes.
We’ve trained with Google’s SYLI Emotional Intelligence for Leaders programme as well as training with Aberdeen University, Bangor University and Dr Patricia Collard to fulfil UK mindfulness teacher requirements. We’re committed to our own continuing professional development, our senior Mindful Leader facilitator, Gill Thackray, holds an MSc in Mindfulness Studies and is currently completing PhD research into the impact of mindfulness and compassion training on leadership efficacy.
Our own personal mindfulness practice spans 20 years. We draw upon this alongside our corporate experience of successfully building our own businesses working with FTSE 100 companies. We are committed to the UK Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice Guidelines and are registered on the UK Registered Teachers list.
We’re leaders in the field
We write articles on mindful leadership and mindfulness at work for national and international publications including The Guardian, Thrive Global, Ultra Sport and HR Zone.
Why Become a Mindful Leader?
The benefits of mindful leadership include;
- Increased resilience
- Enhanced wellbeing
- A reduction in stress and burnout
- The ability to skilfully manage change
- Improved metacognition (the ability to observe your thoughts, feelings & emotions)
- The development of emotional intelligence
- A more engaged workforce
- Increased positive emotional states
- Improved self awareness & self regulation
- Increased ‘Flow’ state to optimise performance
- Greater team cohesion
- Reduced staff turnover
- Increased neuroplasticity
- Reduced stress related absenteeism
- Greater clarity of thought
- Improved decision making
- Increased creativity and innovation
- The ability to identify individual habitual patterns of thinking and respond more effectively
Practicing mindfulness won’t magically decrease your workload, improve the economy or make your colleagues nicer to work with. What it will do is change the way that you perceive and respond to those events.
Core Components of Our Mindful Leadership Programme
Our programme is unique. We bring the latest research from mindfulness, emotional intelligence, positive psychology and compassion together in one place to help you develop the skills necessary to become a mindful leader.
Throughout the course you’ll learn scientifically evidenced mindful leadership practices that you can take away and start using straight away in real world situations. We’ll show you how to establish a regular practice using mindfulness to manage the complexities and pressures of your leadership role.
We’ll examine the latest scientific research and focus upon how practical mindful leadership skills will give you the tools to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of the corporate world.
- What is mindful leadership
- The neuroscience of mindful leadership
- It’s a VUCA world and why that matters to a mindful leader
- Recognising habitual mental habits & using mindful leadership to disrupt them
- Auto pilot and attentional training
- Sacrifice syndrome and how to overcome it
- The difference between stress, pressure and burnout
- Creating Flow states to optimise performance
- The key link between positive psychology and mindfulness
- Emotional intelligence and the mindful leader
- Self awareness and the mindful leader
- Self regulating under pressure – why it matters
- Skilfully managing change
- Developing agile thinking for critical situations
- Building resilience with mindfulness
- Managing your energy and circadian rhythms as a mindful leader
- Mindfulness, creativity and innovative leadership
- The importance of mindful leadership and compassion.
- Free post training 365 day support
We’ll use facilitator input, discussion, dyads, group exercises, videos, light physical movement, guided scientifically proven practices and experiential learning to immerse you in mindful leadership for the duration of the course.
By the end of the course delegates will have developed skills that will enable them to;
- Identify what mindfulness is
- Recognise the scientifically evidenced benefits of mindful leadership
- Identify how research in neuroscience underpins mindful leadership
- Develop increased resilience
- Enhance their wellbeing
- Improved communication skills
- Identify sacrifice syndrome & employ renewal strategies
- Skilfully meet the challenge of change
- Develop greater emotional intelligenceEnhance self awareness
- Enhanced mental agility
- Recognise the difference between stress, pressure and burnout
- Improved decision making
- Optimise performance
- Manage stressful situations skilfully
- Develop increased self compassion & compassionate leadership
- Recognise the interplay between mindfulness, neuroscience & positive psychology
- Utilise a practical toolkit of practices and strategies to start using straight away
- Develop an individual action plan
Tools and techniques that you can take away & start using immediately:
- Access to Positive Change Guru’s Mindfulness assessment
- Access to growth mindset assessment
- Access to emotional intelligence assessment
- Sacrifice and renewal audit
- Access to individual resilience assessment
- Access to team resilience assessment
- Toolkit to assess areas of risk
- Simple practices house daily for mindful leadership
- Access to compassionate organisation assessment
- Mindful leadership workbook
- 365 dedicated post mindful leadership training support
Want to know more? Just ask! We deliver courses across the UK, which can take place at your workplace or at a separate venue. We also provide residential, bespoke Mindfulness Leadership and Mindfulness at work courses offering espresso bitesize taster training sessions, half day, 1, 2 or 4 day options, along with conference key notes.
We’re also currently researching the impact of mindfulness and compassion on leadership efficacy. To find out more about our research, mindful leadership or mindfulness training contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our events page http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/
We’d love to hear from you!
Mindfulness? Pah. You don’t have time to sit around doing nothing. Or maybe you’ve read the research and you’re sold on the idea of mindfulness but you just can’t find the time. You’re not alone, this is something that we hear frequently at Positive Change Guru. So what can you do to make mindfulness part of your day? We’ve put together six painless but powerful practices to kick start your Mindfulness journey. We show you how to start where you are, adding mindfulness into your day with just a few minor tweaks.
We’ve arrived at the last blog of our series live from New York! Here we examine the latest US research and take a deep dive into the work we’ve been doing with our clients in NYC. Here we look at corporate mindfulness.
It’s official. We’re more stressed in the workplace than we were forty years ago. The UK Office for National Statistics Labour Force study states that 442000 employees in Britain reported feeling work-related stress at a level that was making them physically ill (HSE 2007/8). It’s not a surprising statistic considering crowded commutes before you even reach the office, challenging colleagues, increasing workloads and poor leadership contributing to the phenomena. Corporate mindfulness may be the answer but where do you start?
We uncover the uncomfortable truth about multitasking and why creating ‘Flow’ moments is the answer
The Myth of multitasking
Ever wondered why other people seem to master multitasking whilst you struggle to manage multiple tasks at the same time? If you’re envious of the seven-second attention span of a goldfish, flow moments are for you. Worry no more. Multitasking is and has always been, urban myth.
The truth is out. After decades of articles opining the benefits of multitasking, the ‘how to’s’ ‘Made simples’ and ‘Guides’ – we now know that the ability to focus on several tasks at the same time just isn’t neurologically possible. So when you’re checking your phone whilst talking, reading the paper whilst watching TV or driving and making a call using hands free, you’re not completely focused.
Working faster but producing less
Research by Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California found that when we’re continually distracted we may work faster but we produce less. That would explain the plethora of mistakes we typically tend to make when we’re not completely focused on the task at hand.
Leaving mistakes in your wake?
Dr JoAnn Deak author of ‘Your Fantastic Elastic Brain” states that “When you try to multitask, in the short term it doubles the amount of time it takes to do a task and it usually at least double the number of mistakes.” Worse still, researchers at Stanford University found that regular multitaskers are particularly bad at it, suggesting that serial multitaskers are easily distracted. Known as ‘switchtasking’ quickly jumping from one task to another, leaving a slew of mistakes in its’ wake. Rather than making us more efficient, switchtasking makes us less accurate and slows us down. The problem is, we’re so convinced that it’s possible, we just don’t notice our performance has suffered due to our lack of focus.
Feeling focus fatigued?
Switchtasking can also elevate our stress levels, ramping up the pressure, feeding into the feeling that there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Research by René Marois at Vanderbilt University, using fMRI found that the brain responds to multiple tasks with a “response selection bottleneck” slowing us down as it attempts to prioritise tasks. Little wonder then, that multitasking impacts our learning and leaves us feeling even more fatigued, contributing to the release of stress hormone nasties like cortisol and adrenaline. Left unchecked, the long-term effects upon our health can be catastrophic.
The negative impact of distractions
It’s all thanks to the default mode network (DMN) a cluster of brain areas that become active when we’re not actively focusing on a specific task. It’s just the way that we’re wired.
David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work says, “A distraction is an alert. It says, orient your attention here now; this could be dangerous.” The digital world that we now live in offers a multitude of distractions “It reduces our intelligence, literally dropping our IQ. We make mistakes, miss subtle cues, fly off the handle when we shouldn’t, or spell things wrong.” To add insult to injury, multitasking makes us less intelligent than we might otherwise be.
During a Harvard study examining mind wandering by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert 2,000 adults were tested throughout the day. Killingsworth and Gilbert found they were distracted for a whopping 47 percent of the time. What’s more they were less happy as a result, typically experiencing stressful thoughts or negative rumination. All excellent reasons to ditch switchtasking.
How to focus
So if multitasking is dead, how do we focus? The good news is your brain is a muscle, just like any other muscle in your body. The trick is to train it. Flow is a state of optimum performance and you can develop it. Here’s how.
- Minimise distractions. That means turn the TV off, put your phone down and concentrate on one task at a time. Don’t start a new task until you have finished the last one.
- Identify and work with your circadian rhythms. Keep a log of your energy levels and engagement in tasks throughout the day. Work out when you energy levels best support your focus and plan your day accordingly. Tough tasks that require focus and mental energy should be scheduled at peak energy times, less demanding tasks for when you have a dip in energy. Even better, try and schedule a walk when you know there will be a slump.
- Build that critical brain mass with mindfulness. Start with one breath at a time, focusing on the breath, not breathing deeply or changing your breathing, simply noticing what’s here, right now. Notice your breath as you inhale, feeling the breath moving over your top lip as you inhale, the coolness around the tip of the nostrils. Exhaling, feel the warmth of the breath around the nostrils. If you find that your mind wanders, just notice the distraction and bring your focus back to the breath. The more you practice this mindfulness of breath meditation the more you’ll see results in terms of your ability to focus. We know from research that experienced meditators are better able to quieten down an area in the DMN called the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) than non-meditators. That’s it, now you’re training!
- Get moving. A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that aerobic exercise improved the areas of the brain related to attention, both long term and short term. Whether it’s walking, jogging, playing tennis or hitting the gym, investing in physical exercise will reap multiple benefits.
- Drink more (and no, we don’t mean alcohol). A 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition found that mild dehydration increased levels of inattention in test subjects. It took as little as a 2% drop in hydration to negatively affect the subjects ability to concentrate on cognitive tests. Make sure that you keep hydrated, drinking between 7 to 8 glasses of water a day.
Positive Change Guru are experts in performance at work. We offer bespoke training, mindfulness, resilience and positive psychology courses as 1 day, bitesize espresso or organisational consultancy. Check out our events page http://positivechangeguru.com/events-2/ Contact us at email@example.com we’d love to here from you.
Image courtesy of Patrick Tomasso and those lovely people at Unsplash.