Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Viktor E. Frankl
Our interactions with others can often be reactive, we tend not to respond, and in being reactive, we can overreact. Let’s face it, the events of the last 12 months have caused many of us to overreact – always conjuring up the ‘what if’ of a situation instead of stopping and thinking ‘what is’.
We have seen how the stresses of working from home, have impacted your employees. Last year we spoke about how working from home can affect mental health, but WFH of course isn’t the only stress factor. Homeschooling; lack of contact with friends, family and colleagues and that feeling of isolation and a feeling of ‘when will this end?’ have all contributed to our feelings of anxiety. Even those who considered themselves not to be ‘the anxious type’ have had to admit it’s got to them too.
So how are we addressing our mental health & wellbeing?
We all know that physical health is so important. We’ve all put on our trainers or walking boots and got ourselves outside to do some exercise. Even if you haven’t managed to venture too far outdoors, there has been oodles of ‘keep fit’ exercises and workouts on YouTube and the like to keep us all going.
But are we really taking the time out to support our mental health and wellbeing both during and after this pandemic? With this in mind, I want to look at some ways we can use mindfulness and meditation techniques to support mental health and the potential effects on work life.
Meditation & Mindfulness: What are the differences?
Meditation is a practice, and through this practice, one can develop different qualities, including mindfulness.
In the modern western world, meditation can be quite a dividing subject and some of you may initially be sceptical. Here at Triple Three Solutions, we understand that it may not be for everyone, or work well all the time. However, considering the effects of the pandemic on mental health, and based on our own experience, we truly believe that it’s worth trying.
A couple of years ago, I was introduced to meditation to help me to deal with a health condition. Following this, I have continued to set aside time to meditate on a regular basis. You don’t have to sit in a certain position to meditate effectively, it depends on you and your own physical capabilities. In fact, you can walk and meditate! A great way to start is to find a teacher that suits you. Personally, I follow Dr. Joe Dispenza’s teachings on meditation and find them very helpful. Along with his books and guided meditations, I attended a weekend retreat (and have booked in for another later in 2021).
For more insight into how meditation can help, I recommend the movie, HEAL (it’s on Netflix and Amazon Prime). You may think differently about meditation afterwards…or not.
Mindfulness describes a specific way of living that can be cultivated through practice. One practice serves the other (Meditation) well.
I have also practised being more mindful of the day to day things, mindfully eating a meal or drinking a cup of tea; mindful of places I walk, appreciating what I see as I take a daily stroll. Taking time to focus on your breathing, if only for a couple of minutes, can support you being in the here and now and is a marvellous technique to help with the alleviation of stress.
Jon Kabat Zin shepherded the concept of mindfulness into the mainstream and made meditation the kind of thing that scientists and doctors take seriously. What’s more, Action for Happiness is promoting Mindful March – check out the mindful practices that you could adopt this month.
Still think it’s mumbo jumbo and just for hippies?
Effects on the workplace:
Mental Health: This is of course the most important reason to promote the practice of meditation and mindfulness in the workplace. Although we are not medical practitioners, psychotherapists or counsellors, we know from our own personal experience how it may support symptoms of anxiety, depression, burnout and other mental health problems along with being a great coping mechanism for everyday stress.
Productivity & Motivation: Stress can be a huge distraction and make it difficult for you or your employees to get things done. The use of regular meditation or mindfulness techniques can help to clear the mind, making it easier to focus, engage and stay motivated.
“It’s not surprising that meditation would affect attention, since many practices focus on this very skill. And, in fact, researchers have found that meditation helps to counter habituation—the tendency to stop paying attention to new information in our environment. Other studies have found that mindfulness meditation can reduce mind-wandering and improve our ability to solve problems. – mindful.org”
Reduced Conflict: As frustration levels decrease, so do the chances of workplace conflict, misunderstandings and poor communication. It goes without saying that the better our mental state, the better we can approach and respond to difficult situations.
Employers cannot ignore the impact that these environmental stressors will have on their people — and their business. – A mindful approach to helping your team through the current global crisis from headspace.com
Whether we’re WFH or back in the office, workplace mindful meditation is a great addition to your business culture. There are many ways you can incorporate it, like providing a quiet space to practice or appointing a champion. However, given the current situation, one of the easiest ways is through meditation apps. Headspace, Calm and Balance are just some of the many free apps for mindfulness and meditation that could help you and your employees.
333 Final Thoughts:
If you’d like to put in place a training program to support your employees in mindful meditation practice, we can recommend trusted some teachers. We’ve got plenty more to discuss on this subject, so keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs. If you’d like to learn more or any other HR advice, please feel free to get in touch. Give our HR consultants a call on 0333 050 3330, use our contact page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.