What is Mindfulness?

Traditionally mindfulness defined as:

Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non- judgementally. Its foundations lie at the core of contemplative practices and have evolved over the last 30 years into Western approaches that have to date most commonly been associated with therapeutic approaches to health and well-being. There is a massive body of clinically researched evidenced based data to support its benefits/impact. Mindfulness however is increasingly becoming an essential part of working life.

In the corporate world mindfulness can be thought of as:

Developing the skills to pay Attention with the Intention to keep an open minded Attitude.

Today’s work forces are ‘always on’ and the demands of work mean that the ability to fully pay attention in any moment is often lost. In addition, levels of distraction in society as well as in the work place are at an all-time high resulting in increased tension as we strive to be in many places at once, achieving many things at once and be many things to many people.

Large organisations such as Accenture, Google, Twitter, BT are recognising the benefits of building a resilient workforce and in doing so build a resilient and healthy organisation that is better able to withstand the pressures of today’s corporate environment. They are using Mindfulness training to achieve this.

Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of success.
Accenture
(source:The Attention Economy, Harvard Business Press)

The benefits of mindfulness practice in the workplace can be summarised as follows:

  • enhanced attention and concentration
  • increased creativity and flexibility
  • working capably in complex and uncertain environments
  • creating meaning and purpose
  • making effective and balanced decisions
  • responding effectively to difference and conflict
  • acting with compassion and kindness
  • enhanced relationships and partnerships
  • enabling authenticity and courageous action
  • working ethically and wisely
  • developing cultural intelligence.

Learn to work smarter…not harder

How does Mindfulness Work?

The brain is constantly changing and with training and focus it is possible to build new neural pathways that support us to reclaim our attention, focus and awareness. By using the mind in a particular way over time the brain can rewire…each time the brain wanders and each time you bring it back you are gradually building new neural pathways and building a brain that has the capacity to focus, concentrate and attend to the task in hand.

Neurons that fire together, wire together.
Hebb
1949 The Organisation of Behaviour

It can be likened to going to the gym to build your muscles; instead you practice mindful techniques and build new neural pathways! The ability of the brain to change is referred to as neuroplasticity. With the advent of MRI scanning scientists are reliably able to track the changes in the brain of mindfulness practices.