A Mindful Workplace Starts With You Summit County Worksite Wellness Conference September 13, 2012Presented by:Mayra J. Porrata, M.Ed.Senior Associate, Round River Consulting, LLCFounder & Managing Partner, Sunny Day Publishing, LLCLecturer, Kent State University, School of Health Sciences 1
Tips for this session: (aka: stayingawake during a mindfulness sessionfollowing lunch) •Breathe deeply •Relax •Smile •Generally be aware of how you feel ☺
Session Guarantees ☺ (objectives)By the end of this session…You will have been sitting here for 30-40 minutes ☺You may have experienced any of the following:delight, boredom, surprise, resistance, disbelief, extremesleepiness or excitement.You may have a greater understanding of mindfulness,mindfulness practices and how mindfulness may beimplemented and practiced in your workplace (and in your life).
A little about me… Student and practitioner of mindfulness (off and on ☺) since 1976 Former “corporate soldier” Master’s Degree in Community Health Education A mother of 2 girls A caregiver to a special-needs child A perfectly flawed human being
A little about us all…. At our core…we all seek the same things: To understand ourselves/the world To do meaningful work To have relief from suffering To love and to be loved
The case for a mindful workplace Mindful people are usually pleasant Mindful people experience less stress Mindful people are less prone to injury Emotional states are contagious (Fowler & Christakis, 2008 )
The case for a mindful workplace Mindfulness education is a SOLUTION: To help reduce worksite stress To help keep “healthy employees healthy” To help employees with chronic health conditions cope To maximize individual and organization potential!
“How you see yourself, who you think you are, how you see others,what you think the meaning of life is, how you see death, belief, God, darkness and beauty is all determined by the style of mind you have”. John O’Donohue, Poet, Priest, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Our “style of mind”“MINDLESS” MINDLacking full awareness of our behavior(s)Lacking creativity & spiritLacking love & compassionMakes us prone to physical, emotional, social, mentalor spiritual injuryWithout exception….we have all been “there”
Our “style of mind” “MINDFULL” MIND Fully aware Responding vs. reacting Open to creative and loving solutions Supportive of the entire individual (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually)
Mindfulness Defined a dispositional characteristic (a personal attribute/trait) An outcome (a state of awareness resulting from mindfulness training) A practice (mindfulness meditation practice itself) Black,D.S. (2011).A brief definition of mindfulness. (Accessed from http://www.mindfulexperience.org)
Mindfulness Defined Utilizing all our senses simultaneously Operating from our heart/soul/spirit/Higher Self “Heartfulness” (Fr. Keating)
Mindfulness Defined Paying attention without judgment (Kabat-Zinn) “Non-conceptual knowing” (Kabat-Zinn) Self-regulation of attention Other words that have been used to describe the experience/process of mindfulness: “Present” (Tolle) “Aware” (Lisi) “Conscious” (Dyer) “Awake”(Williamson)
Criticisms and common complaintsabout mindfulness “It takes too long- I don’t have time be mindful!” “It’s too spiritual” “It’s not very “professional” or “scientific” “It goes against my religion” “It will “numb me out” “I will have less fun in life” “It will disconnect me from “real” life “I will be more mindful when “things” calm down in my life” ☺
In reality….The practice of mindfulness can help to create a more engaged and productive work team.Mindfulness could be a simple and inexpensive addition (or foundation) to your worksite wellness program.Consistent mindful awareness leads to “clarity”: a self-understanding that no longer produces judgment of self or others (Brunson, Wading the Stream of Awareness, P. 261) 15
We are all “wired” for mindfulness We are more AWARE than we “think” we really are. Although commonly ignored, our hearts and every single cell in our body has “feeling” and “sensing” abilities (we are feeling organisms!). Mindfulness and heartfulness are under-utilized human capacities. 16
Research note: “Mindfulness may be important in disengaging individuals from automatic thoughts, habits, and unhealthy behavior patterns and thus could play a key role in fostering informed and self- endorsed behavioral regulation, which has long been associated with well-being enhancement” (Ryan & Deci, 2000) 17
“The 21st Century belongs to Thethe Aware, Focused, & Loving Leader” Jeff Brunson, Leadership Coach Wading the Stream of Awareness
Typical workplace “awareness” Focused on the actions/behaviors of others Focused on protecting our ego/position Focused on “fairness” and favoritismThe Mindful Workplace Mindful of our own actions and behaviors Mindful of our own thoughts and ideas Mindful of our own emotions
“Emotions are a more evolved way of thinking” Marvin Minsky, Artificial Intelligence PioneerTED Presentation: Health and the Human Mind
Using emotions to understandemployee needs and states of “being” When people “behave badly”…..or “agreeably” it is merely a physical manifestation of an emotional state. When people do things that “feel good” to them, they are happy, more creative, healthier and more productive. When people do things that “don’t feel good” to them, this feeling is stressful to the body. (“Stress is a risk factor for many conditions—long-term stress impacts our bodies” Jon Kabat-Zinn) 23
Promoting a culture of mindfulnessand wellness Always begins by example and with leadership/ management support. It will still be “work”, but a more compassionate workplace. Compassion? – What does that have to do with work?– It is a pathway to our shared humanity. A gentle call to all leaders and managers: Working to create a supportive and compassionate workplace can help reduce employee stress and chronic illness.
“To effectively reenergize their workforces,organizations need to shift their emphasis fromgetting more out of people to investing more inthem, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.” Tony Schwartz, Human Performance Expert The Energy Project 27
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Encourage employees and co-workers to reflect on how they “feel” IMPORTANT NOTE: We are ALL (EACH) responsible for our feelings ☺. It is not your job to “fix”, counsel or in any way “change” how someone feels. You may feel “resistance”– that is “ok” ☺….feel that resistance for yourself– allow yourself to be “ok” with that tension.
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Team deep breathing (let’s try it now!) ☺ Doing “nothing together” for 2-3 minutes and allowing everyone an opportunity to express what they most noticed or appreciated.
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Gratitude practices – (what we appreciate grows- what do you want to grow?) Consistently express your gratitude for employees Invite employees to share a weekly or monthly gratitude list during staff meeting.
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Mindful food/eating practices For your next staff meeting, bring/order food items that are healthy and nutritious Initiate or volunteer at a local community garden
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Mindful movement/exercise Invite employees/co-workers to take a walk during lunch Remind employees to stretch their muscles and breathe deeply throughout the day
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace Laugh together ☺
Mindfulness strategies for yourworkplace (policy level) Unlimited vacation policy Work “on anything” for a month Incentivize worksite mindfulness practices and initiatives along with other health promotion incentives like smoking cessation, weight loss and increased physical activity.
In Closing…. If improving employee health is a priority: Mindfulness practices will bring “coherence” to your worksite. Mindfulness will help reduce stress in your worksite. Mindfulness will open up new pathways for creativity and production.
A Mindful WorkplaceStarts With YouComments? Questions?Thank You ☺Copies of this presentation will be made availablefollowing the conference-- ORContact me directly at:email@example.com