Having taken myself to a foreign country, and finding myself alone, without my luggage and unable to accurately determine the location of the Airbnb I was trying to get to, my stress levels crescendoed! What if?….., who can I call?….., how do I?….., am I daft?....., how embarrassing….., how ineffective….., who do you think you are?….., starting racing in my thoughts. Blood and ‘battle chemicals’ started pumping through my body and into my temples creating the little steam vapours around my head usually only seen on cartoon characters.
Luckily before my eye sockets burst, I managed to link back into the 3-week-long mindfulness yoga training I had left only that morning. Taking a breath and responsibility for my state, I grounded my bum squarely on a concrete post lining the road, aware of the density of the post and the heat of it in the 38 degree temperatures, I linked into the sound of the traffic, the sun on my skin, the air in my lungs, the curve of the little old town street and within a few minutes, the beauty of Valencia, Spain revealed itself before me.
With senses on and stress hormones reducing, I was quickly able to access the wonderful reason and function of my brain’s prefrontal cortex to take a few logical steps to untangle the mess of thoughts, which fell away and evaporated on the hot bitumen beside me. I now deemed the course money well spent, how effective was that?
Stress reduces our capacity to think clearly as we are threatened and our body is chemically induced into survival response and away from thinking, reason or body function maintenance.
So what is the power of mindfulness and how can it be implemented in Corporate settings to help people reduce stress and unleash their calm thinking faculties?
Mindfulness is bringing awareness to your experience in the present moment so that you can pay full attention. This allows you to deal with situations more promptly and more responsibly, reducing the dramas that disrupt our workspaces when we lash out with blame and fear.
As stress reduces clarity and rationality, and increases the consumption of personal leave and the presence of interpersonal conflict; mindfulness can also have some direct bottom line impacts.
To practise mindfulness there are various exercises and you can start by focusing on different elements of the now whilst tuning into the experience of your breathing.
What can you do to incorporate some mindfulness and it’s benefits into your workplace?
1. Introduce an internal mindfulness program like Google’s ‘Search Within Yourself’, or
2. Bring in trainers for regular mindfulness sessions or mindful yoga classes, and
3. Provide a culture that supports mindful practices like:
a. ‘pauses’ or moments to refocus at the commencement of meetings,
b. actively listening to each other and putting agendas aside
c. self-care practises like flexitime, nap/meditation rooms and physical activity programs.
Our communities need businesses to care about our health and lead the way with progressive people practises. Are you an employer with a social conscience?
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation
Want to know more?
Wendy Somerville, now part of the Sync or Swim team is a Change Manager and Growth Coach passionate about empowering people to realise their peak state. Developing awareness of current Neuroscience findings and building desire to live with more passion and purpose, people can become a business’s strategic growth platform.
Contact Wendy at Sync or Swim to help develop your Growth Mindset Culture Strategy.