At Positive Change Guru we’re sometimes asked whether mindfulness is harmful. It’s a sensible question and one which we’ll attempt to shed some light upon here.
We’re incredibly excited to be attending the Mindfulness in Society Conference in Scotland 15 – 18 June, 2017. Our mindfulness expert Gill will be presenting her MSc research into the impact of mindfulness training on leadership, ‘Bullet Proof 9 to 5 ers’ at the conference. There are some great speakers over the three days including Sharon Salzburg, Rick Hanson and Prof Paul Gilbert. See the full line up here http://www.samyeling.org/courses/mindfulness/display/916
If you’re there come and say hello, we’d love to meet you! To find out more about introducing mindfulness into the workplace check out our Introducing Mindfulness Into Your Wellbeing Strategy article here http://positivechangeguru.com/introducing-mindllbeing-strategy/
Whether you have an established wellbeing programme or are designing a strategy from scratch, mindfulness should be firmly on the agenda. With converts ranging from Google, Transport for London, Honda, the National Health Service, Microsoft and Aetna the results speak for themselves. We’ve worked with many companies who are now mindfulness evangelists. But where do you start when introducing mindfulness to your workplace? We’ve often been asked this question by clients so here are our
7 Insider Tips [Read more…]
Party hats on
Congratulations to Gill Thackray on receiving a first in her MSc in Mindfulness from Aberdeen University! Gill is PCG’s resident mindfulness expert and we’re all excited to celebrate her success.
You can contact Gill to discuss PCG’s range of mindfulness at work courses here.
Compassion and work, strange bedfellows or not?
At first glance they might seem strange bedfellows; compassion and work? Surely not? Whereas compassion may not appear to be a priority in the work place there is increasing evidence that when it’s present, employees flourish and organisations thrive.
So what is compassion at work?
Sogyal Rinpoche describes Compassion as “not simply a sense of sympathy or caring for the person suffering, not simply a warmth of heart toward the person before you, or a sharp recognition of their needs and pain, it is also a sustained and practical determination to do whatever is possible and necessary to help alleviate their suffering”. Wharton Management Professor, Sigal Barsade describes compassion as “when colleagues who are together day in and day out, ask and care about each other’s work and even non-work issues.” Barsade talks about the importance of an emotional culture, stating that this is equally as important as cognitive organisational culture, stating compassionate employees “are careful of each other’s feelings. They show compassion when things don’t go well. And they also show affection and caring — and that can be about bringing somebody a cup of coffee when you go get your own, or just listening when a co-worker needs to talk.”
Put simply, compassion at work is empathy with action. The ability to notice the suffering of colleagues, whether it be a stressful day, a difficult conversation with peers or a problem at home – and then the ability to act upon that noticing.
Why is compassion at work important?
There is a growing body of research that suggests that the happier we are at work the more productive we are. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research suggests that happier staff are more engaged, creative, productive and motivated. Successful leaders recognise that happy employees mean increased productivity and ultimately increased profit. It’s not just about the bottom line, nobody wants to be miserable in the place where they spend the majority of their waking hours.
It’s not just about the feel good factor and being civil to each other in workplace. In a 16 month longitudinal study “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” set in a health care facility, Barside and Olivia O’Neil researched the impact of compassion upon the emotional behavioural outcomes of employees. They found that compassion reduced levels of exhaustion and burnout. The researchers also saw a decrease in absenteeism with a corresponding increased levels of employee engagement. Increasingly research in the field of compassion at work is beginning t show that there are tangible results when we develop compassionate individuals, leaders and cultures;
• When we’re on the receiving end of compassionate leadership at work we’re more likely to be committed to our organisation and to talk about it in positive terms (Lilius et al. 2008)
When we experience compassion at work connects co-workers psychologically and results in a stronger bond between them (Frost et al. 2000).
Managers who believe that their organisation is concerned about their well-being are more likely to show supportive behaviour towards their team members (Eisenberger, 2006).
• Those who receive compassion are subsequently better able to direct their support and care giving to others (Goetz et al. 2010). As Bayside found, this is important in healthcare organisations. Working in a compassionate organisation reduces the chance of compassion fatigue and burnout in caregivers (Figley 1995). This also provides them with essential emotional resources that they need to care for their clients (Lilius et al. 2011).
• Compassionate leadership also influences employees’ perception of their colleagues and organisations. Studies show that employees who believe that their leaders care about their well-being are happier with their jobs and more commitment (Lilius et al. 2011). When we experience compassion ate work we are also less likely to leave the organisation, reducing employee turnover.
• Fredrickson et al. 2000 found that when we experience positive emotions our heart rate and blood pressure is lowered. Our psychological distress also decreases. Compassionate leadership has the potential to improve employee wellbeing.
How can you develop compassion at work?
Consider the way that you interact with others in the workplace. Think about;
- Say ‘Good Morning’ to colleagues, acknowledge their presence and let them know you care.
- Actively look for ways to help colleagues, direct reports and clients.
- If you’re making a coffee, offer to make one for a colleague.
- Notice how others are feeling, bring mindfulness to your interactions and if someone appears to need help, reach out to them.
- Practice mindfulness. Professor Paul Gilbert one of the world’s leading experts in compassion says that mindfulness can be used to develop an attitude of compassion at work.
- Here’s a Mindful practice from Compassion Life by HH The Dalai Lama to help you o your way:
Sit in a comfortable position. Take a few moments to pause and relax bringing your focus to your breath. Gently settle into a relaxing breathing rhythm.
Bring to mind a person or situation where you got angry, impatient, frustrated or seriously annoyed. Get a clear picture of the people in this situation and what they were doing that really bothered you…..
Now think of each person when they aren’t at work. Connect with them as another human being.
Picture them as a fellow human being with a family, pets, children, brothers and sisters… just like you
Think of them working to support their family and wanting to live happily…. just like you
Imagine them working as best they know how to work ….. just like you
Think of them having life challenges, fears, worries, insecurities….. just like you
Picture them trying to do their best with what they know to do…. just like you
Know they desire happiness and want to be free from suffering… just like you
Breathe deeply as you picture them with their family or neighbors enjoying life and being happy. Feel the wave of compassion in your body as you connect with your desire for their happiness.
We love to talk about all things compassion at work related at Positive Change Guru. Check out our forthcoming events or get in touch to find out more about our suite of courses and discuss bespoke compassion at work training for your organisation.
Work. We spend most of our lives there but rarely give thought to how or why. Whether you view work is a necessary evil or you jump out of bed in the morning with a smile on your face, work can sometimes be stressful.But is there a way to bring the stress level down a notch or two? Enter mindfulness.
It’s easy to get caught in an endless cycle of ‘doing, doing, doing’ at work. We jump from one task to the next, firmly focused on the ‘To do’ list with not enough time to squeeze it all in. we forget to ‘be’. When we do that our creativity shuts down, innovation heads for the door and we move onto auto-pilot. Mindfulness provides us with a choice, it gives us a way back into the present moment and a way of slowing down the onslaught of working life.
So how can you build mindfulness into your working life?
We’ve all been there, sometimes after a morning commute you feel as though you’ve already done a full day’s work, just adding to the exhaustion.
See if it’s possible to park the car further away from the office or get off the bus or the train a stop early using the rest of the journey for a mindful walk. Notice how your body feels as you walk, the shift of weight from left to right, the sensation of the ground under your feet, supporting you. Take time to be in the moment by noticing what’s around you, the sensations of the wind on your face, the architecture of the buildings, the sunlight falling upon the leaves in the trees. And if it’s possible, maximize your walk by using any parks or green space along the way. We know from research that walking in a green space gives an even greater return on your stress busting investment for your walk.
Set yourself a reminder to pause and be throughout the day. These mini check ins are a great way of reminding yourself to take time out, bringing your mind and body back into the moment. Try setting a gentle alarm on your phone every 40 minutes or using one of the many apps available that sound a bell (Zazen is a great free example of this). When you hear the reminder, just stop whatever you’re doing, pause and breath, checking in with what’s going on in your mind and body. Ask yourself; ‘What’s here, right now?”
It’s so easy to turn on your computer and get drawn into everything you read, to feel the beginnings of a stress cycle as you scan row upon row of emails. The next time you walk into the office, try this before you make a start. Sit down and close your eyes, feel the chair supporting you, your feet on the ground, the contact with the earth. Notice what’s happening in your mind; are you calm, hurried or tense? Just notice, don’t judge or try to change whatever is going on. How does your body feel? What’s here? In this moment? As you breath, say to yourself “In” as you inhale and “Out” as you exhale. Do this for 3 minutes. If your mind waders, or you become distracted by thoughts, notice without getting caught up, saying to yourself “This is thinking”. Give yourself a pat on the back for notIcing and then come back to the breath. This is a great way to ground yourself before starting your day and also an excellent practice if you find yourself in the thick of things and feeling overwhelmed as the day goes on.
For more, watch Chade Meng Tan reveal how Google have brought mindfulness into the workplace: