The word is appearing all over the place on social media and in the news. Schools are even incorporating it into their curriculum for students. The latter seem to link it to coping with stress of exams, making career choices and dealing with difficult social issues which often arise in the school environment.
It is also increasingly being used with the world of small business and generally within the workplace – seemingly hand in hand with wellness and happiness.
Mindfulness is actually rooted in Buddhist philosophy, and a literal translation of the Buddhist word is ‘sati’, which means ‘intentness of mind’, ‘wakefulness of mind’ and ‘lucidity of mind’.
Mindfulness can be a difficult concept to define. One definition is: the process of paying attention to what is happening in the moment – both internal (thoughts, bodily sensations) and external stimuli (physical and social environment), and observing those stimuli without judgment ie. being accepting of the moment.
Mindfulness in the workplace:
It has been found mindfulness can help to reduce stress, anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience, emotional intelligence and empathy whilst improving communication in the workplace. Mindfulness can also improve self-regulation of attention and behaviour.
Mindfulness expert Mirabai Bush, says, “Introducing mindfulness into the workplace does not prevent conflict from arising or difficult issues from coming up. But when difficult issues do arise… they are more likely to be skilfully acknowledged, held, and responded to by the group. Over time with mindfulness, we learn to develop the inner resources that will help us navigate through difficult, trying, and stressful situations with more ease, comfort, and grace.
“Becoming more aware of your own emotions as they arise gives you more choice in how to deal with them. Mindfulness helps you become more aware of an arising emotion by noticing the sensation in the body. Then you can stop what you are doing. Breathe deeply. Notice how you are experiencing the emotion in your body. Reflect on where the emotion is coming from in your mind (personal history, insecurity, etc). Respond in the most compassionate way.”
Mindfulness in a small business:
When you work in, or run, a small business it is particularly important to be aware of how we interact and treat others. In a small team, there is nowhere to hide if we get things wrong and upset each other.
This can very quickly affect productivity in a day, or a week or a month and can lead to much more serious conflict and loss of team members – placing more stress upon a business owner and frankly on the bottom line.
Are you ‘mindful’?
How Mindful are you? In the last week have you found yourself:-
- unable to remember what others have said to you during conversations?
- completing a task without being aware of what you were doing?
- driving to work with no recollection of the journey?
- spending more time on your mobile than talking to the person you are with?
- dwelling on past events or dreading the future?
- replying to someone to shut them up, without really listening to them?
If you answered yes to any of these then you are spending some of your time in autopilot. Mindfulness can help with this. It allows us to consider alternative perspectives rather than simply reacting to events and not taking time to make intelligent decisions.
How can small business owners encourage Mindfulness in their business?
Organise a mindfulness session so everyone understands what it is.
Lead by example – don’t rush to give your first response to a difficult situation; take time to react with empathy and a truly considered response.
During meetings, or face-to-face situations, give staff time to think about decisions they have to make, rather than expecting rushed answers.
Benefits of Mindful Eating:
Mindful eating can increase your enjoyment of food; ease digestion; help you to control food, rather than it controlling you.
It can reduce food cravings and most of all help you enjoy the moment of eating.
Techniques for mindful eating:
- Shop smart – don’t shop when you are hungry. Stay on the outside of the store where the fresh food is kept.
- Remove processed foods from your home.
- Slow down. You’ll often find that you end up eating less.
- Enjoy your meal like it’s a wine tasting. It forces you to notice subtle flavours and textures you otherwise may miss.
- Tune the world out when you eat. Eat in silence. If that is impossible, tune out everything else for a brief moment. Stop reading, checking your mobile and stop watching television.
- Tune in. Let every sense tune in to the food experience. The texture, the utensils, the presentation, the colour. Every aspect of the food should be noticeable.
Mindfulness is one of the reasons we’ve taken great care at Creative Nature to consider every aspect of the products we offer. From the ingredients, the taste, the look, even down to our branding.
We want eating our products to be a positive experience, one worth savouring and taking a moment to ‘just eat’ in a healthy, safe and joyous manner.