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’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?
Unless you’ve taken a year long sabbatical and have been living on a remote island (lucky you) you’ll have heard of workplace resilience. Recognising that the world of work is in a constant state of flux, many organisations have implemented workplace resilience programmes. But how many of them have really been effective?
If you arrived at work this morning, feeling good, shared a few words or a joke with colleagues then you’re probably in an organisation with a positive work culture. If your answer is ‘Yes’ feel the love and sit this article out. If you walked through the door and the toxicity was palpable, sticking to the floor, your shoes, eventually enveloping you, then that negative workplace culture may be damaging more than your day.
Part of us knows already that this isn’t the right way to live. You don’t need to examine the science to know that sort of workplace produces a huge downer on your day, that sometimes it dominoes into the rest of your life, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and out of control. You muster all of your energy (and civility) for work, returning home with a huge vitality deficit, which slowly but surely infects both your personal time and your personal relationships.
But it could be worse than you think. I first noticed this phenomenon whilst working with a range of organisations over a period of years. From FTSE 200 to small charitable bodies, there was one thing that they all had in common. When the leader was all stick and no carrot the results were high levels of absenteeism, stressed out teams, demotivation and eventually a rapid staff turnover. Even more surprising at the time, this behaviour went unchecked and unchallenged leaving employees disclosing how undervalued, overstretched and frankly, ill they felt as a result. It was visible, easily recognisable. Leaders at the top had created a culture so toxic it was visible to everyone but themselves. Good businesses go bad, crack teams weaken or adopt bad practice by osmosis, emulating their leader’s despotic characteristics and eventually good people jump ship. It got me wondering. If negative cultures and dysfunctional leadership result in increased levels of absenteeism, what is the long term impact on our health?
Research in organisational psychology consistently demonstrates that a toxic environment characterised by hierarchical structures, narcissistic leaders, backbiting and gossip not only demotivates employees, reducing productivity, it also harms their health. Authoritarian leaders lack the self awareness necessary to recognise the hidden costs of such practices. Anna Nyberg’s research at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute highlighted a link between leadership behaviours and employee heart health. If your boss encourages a stressful practices in the false belief that a cut throat environment will increase productivity, it may just be damaging your health.
If you walk into work everyday feeling unsupported, dreading the next round of persecution or the pitting of team members against each other it could be time for a rethink. Sarah Pressman’s research from the University of California produced worrying data. Whereas the probability of early death is increased by 20% if you are obese, 30% for excessive drinkers, 50% higher for smokers it is increased an astounding 70% for those with poor social relationships. We do the same things, day in, day out, telling ourselves that we need to pay the bills, kidding ourselves that things aren’t bad, it’s ok really, when inside we know that we are in the wrong working environment. If your workplace is toxic it may just be reducing your life expectancy and that’s food for thought.
If you find yourself in a toxic workplace culture (or even inadvertently leading one) contact us to find out how you can adopt a more positive and productive approach at email@example.com Like to find out how you can embed growth mindset or mindfulness into what you do? Check out our forthcoming events and course brochure. Looking for something more bespoke? We’d love to talk to you about getting the most out of your team by using positive psychology, contact us to find out more.
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.
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…]
What to look for when choosing a mindfulness teacher, course or coach
You’ve been interested in mindfulness for a while and decided to give it a try. It’s now time to find a course. But amidst all of the advertising and the hype, how do you know what to look for, from a mindfulness teacher, a course or a coach? Here’s our step by step guide to choosing the right mindfulness teacher for you.
- Committed to good practice? Is your prospective teacher committed to the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers Good Practice Guidelines for teaching mindfulness? The UK Network was developed to promote good practice in teaching mindfulness. Teaching Mindfulness in the UK is unregulated and the Network is an attempt to address this. Qualified teachers who have demonstrated that they meet the UK Good Practice Guidelines for Mindfulness Based Teachers will be registered on the UK Network Listing https://www.mindfulness-network.org/listingspagenew.php This means that they have been verified as suitably trained, committed to continuous professional development, hold insurance and receive regular supervision.
- Your teacher has a regular Mindfulness Practice. You wouldn’t go to a gym and expect to find a personal trainer who had never exercised. You certainly wouldn’t choose them to show you how to train your body. The same is true of your mindfulness teacher. Training your brain is no different to training your body. It’s ok to ask them about their own practice, how long they’ve been meditating and whether they practice on a regular basis. Standard advice is that mindfulness teachers should have been practicing for at least two years before they teach others.
- Retreats. All teachers should have a regular daily practice and attend one retreat a year as a minimum. You need someone who has walked the path themselves before they can lead you.
- Do they have a qualification? Has your mindfulness teacher attended a Level 1 and Level 2 Mindfulness Teacher Training programme? Whilst this doesn’t demonstrate competence it does demonstrate a commitment to professional development. Ask them where they trained and who with. Find out about their credentials; who have they worked with? How many courses have they run? Solo or alone? Don’t feel bashful, a good teacher won’t mind answering your questions. It’s important that your teacher is following a framework when teaching, all of the research evidence is based upon courses led by qualified teachers delivering a structured Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programmes.
- Do they undertake regular supervision? It’s important that teachers have supervision on a regular basis. Your teacher should be able to tell you who their supervisor is and how often they meet. This is necessary for regular reflective practice as well as the safety of everyone involved.
- How do you ensure you’re up to date? All Mindfulness teachers should maintain continuous professional development in the form of workshops, peer evaluation and keeping up to date with the latest research. A teacher who has their own teachers recognises that we are all on a mindful journey, however long we’ve been practicing.
- Do they practice what they preach? Known as embodiment this simply means that they demonstrate mindfulness in the way they behave towards you and others. Look for someone who displays a consistency in actions and words. An authentic Mindfulness teacher will walk their talk. They’ll treat you with respect and compassion rather than use sessions as a platform for their own ego. Asking why they have chosen to teach Mindfulness and what motivates them to practice can provide valuable information.
Are they a good fit for you? Notice how you feel around your teacher. Listen to your intuition. Do they seem authentic? Do you feel that they have genuine humility and are there to serve you and others in the group? If it doesn’t feel right, find another teacher. Use your judgement, you’ll know when you find a teacher that is right for you.
We love to talk about all things mindful 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 mindfulness at work training for your organisation.
Positive Change Guru’s Mindfulness at Work expert, Gill Thackray, is registered with the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teachers Good Practice Guidelines for teaching mindfulness. She has also studied Mindfulness with Aberdeen University, Bangor University, Dr Patrizia Collard and Google’s SIYLI Programme. She is currently researching Mindfulness, Leadership and Compassion at Aberdeen University.