The potential benefits of mindfulness in terms of stress-reduction are well reported, but increasingly the other potential benefits, including improved engagement, enhanced relationships, productivity, focus and concentration are gaining attention, particularly in the corporate world.
I didn’t do a mindfulness course because I wanted to be more productive. I took an 8-week course because I work in a busy job as a city solicitor, that job can sometimes involve pressure and long-hours and I used to worry and churn things over an unnecessary amount in a way which I recognised probably wasn’t very helpful. I have supportive colleagues, and there wasn’t one particular ‘trigger’ moment that led to me doing the course – I just wanted a tool to be able to proactively manage my mental health and well-being; one that would help me worry less and enjoy life more.
I was quite surprised therefore when I found that mindfulness seemed to produce other benefits aside from the stress reduction – the main one I noticed in the workplace was that as I did the course, and more likely as I continued to practice mindfulness afterwards, it stopped me ‘faffing’ as much. This probably surprised me because I wouldn’t have ever really described myself as a ‘faffer’ in a work context. Worrier, yes; faffer, no. Read More
I love Spring. Daffodils are my favourite flower, it starts getting lighter in the evenings, lambs are super cute, and I get a valid excuse to eat as much chocolate as I want during the course of just one weekend. What’s not to love?
Most of all though, I love the fact that Spring signals new beginnings – the fact that we are surrounded by that happening in nature is somehow contagious. I often feel I have more energy and enthusiasm during Spring, and I don’t think that is just the result of me riding off a sugar high from all the chocolate.
Beginnings has significance in a number of ways in mindfulness practice. In terms of practice, you are encouraged to gently but persistently bring your focus back to the present, again and again when the mind wanders off or starts to get drawn into a storyline–beginning again over and over. When formal practice lapses for a while you can re-commit to it – another new beginning. And in focussing on the present, without judging it, you are encouraged to have ‘beginner’s mind’ where the attitude you bring to an experience is one of seeing it for the first time. Read More
Every New Year, twitter trends with New Year messages and we start to review and plan our New Year’s Resolutions in earnest – join a gym; lose weight; drink less; eat less; work less. Whatever our resolutions are, large or small, they normally stem from some aspect of ourselves that we’re not happy with – we have told ourselves that we’re “too fat”, “work too hard”, that we are “not fit enough” – and from that we set a resolution to “be better” for the next few months. If we fail to meet our goal or keep the resolution up, it sometimes reinforces the critique that led us to making it in the first place.
So what if we don’t need to reinvent ourselves in 2016 because we are OK with how we are? What if instead of looking at what we wanted to change, at New Year we reflected on what we are grateful for? What if we set out intentions around growing in those areas, noticing the good things, being kind to ourselves in times of difficulty and extending that kindness to those around us? What if all we need to change is our approach to what is happening, and if we didn’t set end goals but set intentions each day? Read More