At Work For Work: Online Mindfulness that Works!

“Our results suggest that mindfulness training is more than just an effective stress management solution but an efficacious intervention for the development of positive organizational behavior….widespread application has the potential to result in significant employer competitive advantage through a combination of improved employee well-being, enhanced human performance, and decreased health care costs.*

Who wouldn’t want that? You’d be surprised. Or maybe you wouldn’t. A recent New York Times article highlights a common concern that mindfulness, well mindfulness meditation anyway, will make us go soft. Not so. Just ask the woman** at a large prestigious university who told me she found a major publication mistake she was sure she would have missed minus the clarity and focus she gained over the 4 one-hour sessions in my workshop on Managing Your MIND. Human Resources said then that, on the second round of this offering, “we had to beat them away with a stick,” for all the people who heard about and wanted what she and the others got..improved well-being, enhanced performance. Why not?

Don’t have the time? Please. Time is something we made up ourselves long, long ago to help us to survive and to thrive (let’s say for agricultural purposes to track the flooding of the Nile) — not something we made up to torment us the way we let it today. And besides, there is plenty enough time when you have plenty of energy, which mindfulness can give you, so what you really need more of is energy not time. And speaking of time, one of the really nice findings is that “results were either maintained or further improved” after 6 months, although it is unclear whether it was continued at-home practice or the initial integration of the cognitive concepts that accounts for this effect. Either way, it is a commonly held view that new habits stick best in partnership with others, so the idea of learning mindfulness in the workplace may well have a powerful effect of its own. Even if it was online, there was a common language and mindset being learned.

Now, if you are new to this, you may ask: How do I do it, how often, and for how long per sitting? Do I even have to sit? (Actually you don’t.) My clients typically begin with a simple instruction I call The Breathing Room. Although I hear there are studies underway on how long is long enough, the real question is how long is long enough for you? That you can and should fiddle around with for yourself. You can start small; say 5 minutes 2x/day, until you may want to increase your way up to 20-30 once or twice a day. As always, practice, practice, practice…and see what happens.

To work on this in your organization, in a smaller social group, or individually, would love to hear from you. Write or call:

Email:  Madelaine Weiss

Phone:  202.617.0821

*Mindfulness goes to work: Impact of an online workplace intervention, Aikens KA, et al. J Occup Environ Med. 2014. Jul; 56(7):721-31.

**Examples and illustrations are fictional composites inspired by but not depicting nor referring to any actual specific person in my practice or life experience.

Copyright © 2017. Madelaine Claire Weiss. All rights reserved.


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