How Can Mindfulness Help Your Corporate Wellness?
Recently, mindfulness has become more prominent in Western society, with companies even adopting mindful techniques as part of their corporate wellness programmes. Not only does mindfulness aid your mental and physical wellness, it also helps your work performance and leadership skills. Mindfulness also instills a greater sense of meaning and satisfaction in your life, meaning you’ll be happier when hump day rolls around.
According to Rachel Clements, BSc Hons, M Psych, MAPS, co-founder and Director of Psychological Services and Principal Organisational Psychologist at the Centre for Corporate Health, ‘Mindfulness is focused awareness of the present moment. It allows us to live our life fully conscious as to what is going on around us, such as a simple sensation like feeling the warmth of the sunlight or noticing the complex interplay between our internal dialogue of our thoughts and emerging feelings. By tuning in to our internal thought processes and by having a greater insight in to them, we are able to recognise that our thoughts are just thoughts and that they don’t necessarily represent reality.’ So how can you live your life more mindfully?
1. Observe: Clements recommends, ‘Try to bring the focus of your attention to the present moment and tune in to what is going on in the present i.e. focus on what your body position is, what it feels like, identifying any thoughts or feelings that may be present, or simply grounding yourself in what is going on around you at the moment. Mindfulness aims to shift one’s attention away from analytical thinking to observing thoughts, feelings, and one’s bodily reactions as activated by the five senses (e.g., sight, sound, taste, touch, smell).’
2. Describe: ‘Tune in to the small details of what you are observing and simply describe these to yourself,’ Clements instructs. ‘For example, you may observe and describe the contours of the chair in which you are currently sitting, against your body. When eating a strawberry you may observe and describe what the texture feels like in your mouth as you take a bite or you may savour the sweet taste which you may never have taken the time to notice before. When in a meeting you may focus on the person in front of you and really listen to what he or she is saying, being present to every word. When walking, you may notice and describe what your body feels like as you are putting one foot in front of the other, noticing the position and weight of your body as you balance etc.’
3. Reduce: Clements details, ‘Studies have revealed that multi-tasking places so much of a cognitive load on ourselves that our performance deteriorates. Therefore, in order to save time, maintain performance and wellbeing we are better off practicing mindfulness by doing one thing at a time and being fully present in that experience. Task switching in which we alternate tasks however remain fully present when undertaking each one, is often a better alternative for us.’
4. Accept: ‘It is important to be open and accepting of how you are thinking, feeling or behaving in the present moment,’ Clements asserts. ‘Adopting a witness perspective of you observing yourself in a situation allows some distance from a situation which we may be entwined in, allowing us to perhaps view the situation from another perspective. When practicing mindfulness, try to refrain from making comment or evaluating experiences as good, bad, right, or wrong, and try not to control or avoid the experience even if it seems unpleasant at the time. In mindfulness an experience simply “is what it is”.’
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