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Mindfulness – Stress Alleviation

We all experience stress from time to time, it's a natural part of the hustle and bustle of life, however it can become an issue when stress reaches the point of overwhelm and we don’t feel able to competently manage our stress levels or to get them back into balance. Stress can manifest itself both mentally and physically, negatively impacting our overall health and wellbeing.

In this article we look at what mindfulness is and hope to provide you with some tools and resources to help you manage your stress levels regularly, working on the premise that prevention is better than cure - a little time spent managing your stress levels on a regular basis, will better place you to manage particularly stressful situations, when the time comes.

Mindfulness is a way in which we can slow down and gain awareness of ourselves; our thoughts, our biases and assumptions, our body, our environment, our relationships; it's a way to become present in the moment and to focus on what truly matters and what is within our control. It's a way of cleansing the mind and creating space for ourselves, of achieving a feeling of calm, regaining clarity and focus. Mindfulness can help rebalance our mental and physical health and elevate our resilience.

We all have a personal responsibility to ourselves to make sure we engage in self-care, but what about the duty of care our employers have towards us? How can mindfulness be incorporated into the workplace to enhance our experience and fulfilment within our job roles?

Mindfulness in the Workplace

In a CIPD Update article on 23rd March, Kristian Adams highlighted some key issues around resilience and how Line Managers in particular, play a key role in influencing how resilient team members are. He hones in on the onus still being passed back onto the individual to ‘buck up’ and get on with things, something we know from experience, isn’t an acceptable nor an effective management technique. What about adopting a more human approach? What about allowing people to acknowledge and discuss their emotions and challenges? What about Mindful Management in the Workplace?

Mindfulness at work is increasingly gaining traction as a positive way to move forward in terms of people management. It brings the ‘human’ element back into the workplace and stops treating employees as a mere resource.

Both Mindful and CIPD have backed the value of mindfulness at work. CIPD reference survey evidence from Mind in 2015 and the Police Federation in 2018, which looks at the high stress levels of police service workers and how they can be reduced. Mindfulness was considered to be an option. A bespoke mindfulness course was developed - MindFit Cop - which was positioned as a form of strength training; a way to ensure workers were fit, healthy and resilient in order to do their job. The participants learned how to meditate and were taught about the science behind mindfulness and its practical applications.

Overall, results found that police service workers who felt they had little control over their work activities experienced more wellbeing benefit than those who felt they had more control to begin with. The research is thought to have positive implications for other high stress job roles and work environments.

By incorporating mindfulness into everyday work at all levels - an individual, a managerial and an organisational level - it benefits everyone. Managers are allowed to engage in authentic leadership and to help empower their employees. Employees experience improved wellbeing and transformative experiences and different ways to work. It allows for confidence, optimism, coherence and a sense of openness to flourish and moves away from the threat of stress and burnout. Mindfulness and resilience together make for a powerful management practice, but also as a way to move forward as a business with a strong competitive advantage.

Resources For You

Meditation for Beginners
Mindful offers a free introduction to practicing mindfulness on a daily basis over 5 days. Sign up by clicking here https://mailchi.mp/mindful/sfbcf98skw

Tips on How to Lower Stress in 7 days
The Stress Management Society offer a practical guide

Types of Mental Health - What is Stress

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”
Jon Kabat-Zinn