meditation at work

Nurses get training to cope with stress

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Sylvia Pownall, Irish Mirror: Overworked nurses in danger of burn out are practicing mindfulness to help them cope with the stresses of the job.

Carmel Sheridan’s The Mindful Nurse was published last year and has already been included on nursing training courses in the UK and the US. The Galway-based psychotherapist says she was inspired to write the book when she realized how many people coming to her for help were nurses.

She told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I’ve been teaching mindfulness around the country and more and more healthcare workers were enrolling.

“I saw there was a very high level of burn out for nurses who are not only struggling with their workload but also struggling with their own emotions.

“They are experts in caring for everybody else but they tend to be not so great in caring for themselves as a result.

“A lot of them are physically and mentally exhausted, have difficulty sleeping and have very high anxiety and stress levels”…

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The hottest new office perk is a quiet room

Amy X. Wang, Quartz: In a corner of Etsy’s new 200,000 sq ft (18,581 sq m) headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, there is a room meant only for breathing.

Save for the lack of furniture, “A-901: Breathing Room” appears as an ordinary conference room. It sits squarely within the rest of the office, which buzzes with the steady meetings and conversations that characterize most corporate buildings. Soft mats, for sitting, are piled to one side of the room. Digital devices are not allowed.

A few times a week, dozens of employees gather in the …

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Why is meditation good for team building

Sven, Mindful Teams: After Yoga, mindfulness is becoming the new fast-growing trend. Leaders around the world would confirm the positive impact of meditation on work. Though mindfulness is becoming very popular, we are just at the beginning of its business application. At Mindful Teams we do think mindfulness at work is important for both individuals and team. Today we will focus on the benefits of meditation on teams.

1. Develop Team Harmony

Mindfulness practice and group meditation helps people to be closer and in harmony. By practicing together team members develop a …

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Help, I need my device

phone addiction

I used to begin my day with a cigarette and a cup of a coffee. Now I begin my day with a meditation and a cup of coffee. But I have to admit, increasingly I can see that my day often begins with looking at one of my devices.

How many of you begin your day with the cell phone, the iPad, or the computer?

I was asked to do some training on digital addiction with some artists and geeks, and I was alarmed after some research to realize that I too am teetering into digital addiction.

If we rely on the dictionary definition of addiction, ‘the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing or activity, or a dependency, dependence, habit or problem’, we can at least begin to entertain the idea that many of us fall into the category of digital addiction.

You might be saying: “What’s the issue, it’s not a matter of life and death?” Sadly the number of road accidents caused by using the cell phone is on the increase, and that means more lives taken due to this insidious addiction. It’s illegal in many places to text and drive, or to be talking on the phone if you’re not hands-free, and yet we still do it, despite the fact we are putting our life and others’ at risk. Another definition of addiction is continuing a habitual behaviour despite the negative consequences. And texting while driving can be a matter of life and death.

So why are many of us prey to this new addictive habit?

Digital technology is seductive. When we hear that ping on one of our gadgets it’s almost like candy for the brain. Messages can make us think we are needed and wanted, and they encourage us to stay online. The more ‘likes’ we receive on our posts, the more pumped-up our self esteem becomes.

Facebook has recently introduced emoticons — a heart, a thumbs up, a smile — all of which can be experienced as affirming. Other emoticons, like a scowl, angry face or tears, can potentially deflate our egos. We can have a false sense of thinking we know what others are thinking and feeling. However for many people Facebook provides a sense of connection, even if they are alone at home staring at a screen. When it’s our birthday we can receive hundreds of messages. Before the advent of Facebook some of us would have been lucky if we received more than three birthday cards.

Technology has been designed to appeal to our senses. Games such as Candy Crush are replicated in the supermarket, and become as addictive as cigarettes and sugar. So many urban environments are digitalized that even if we don’t own a device we can still experience a cognitive overload from all the digital images we are surrounded by.

There is also the overload of emails. Some people spend half their working day attending to their inbox, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat accounts. Many of us check our social media accounts ten or more times a day.

So what can we do?

There is a company called Unless I Hear Differently that offers a simple tip to improve communication. If you are trying to make a decision over email and people are not getting back to you, this company suggests you write the phrase, “Unless I hear differently, this is what I’m going to do…” This phrase can cut down a whole slew of emails if you are trying to make a decision. It fosters a bias for action without weeks of trying to get an agreement.

Here is a list of other things you can do to help you live more peacefully in this digital era:

  • Put your phone on airplane mode while you are working
  • Put your phone on silent
  • Close the your browser on your lap top
  • Put your email autoresponder on for a couple of hours
  • Disconnect your phone from your lap top, iPad, or computer so you do not hear the ping every time someone sends you a message

Try one of these and see what happens. Perhaps you will find out just how attached you are to your gadget.

The next time you wake up to checking your messages on a device, consider buying one of those old fashioned alarm clocks to wake you up.

For a free sample of the first chapter, book study and 21 meditations of “Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings To Overcome Addiction,” please email: eightstepsrecovery@gmail.com

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How to practice mindfulness throughout your work day

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Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, Greater Good Science Center: You probably know the feeling all too well: You arrive at the office with a clear plan for the day and then, in what feels like just a moment, you find yourself on your way back home. Nine or ten hours have passed but you’ve accomplished only a few of your priorities. And, most likely, you can’t even remember exactly what you did all day. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Research shows that people spend almost 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. In other words, many of us operate on autopilot.

Add to this that we have entered what many people are calling the “attention economy.” In the attention economy, the ability to maintain focus and concentration is every bit as important as technical or management skills. And because leaders need to absorb and synthesize a growing flood of information in order to make good decisions, they’re hit particularly hard by this emerging trend.

The good news is you can train your brain to focus better by incorporating mindfulness exercises throughout your day. Based on our experience with thousands of leaders in over 250 organizations, here are some guidelines for becoming a more…

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Seven ways to bring lovingkindness into daily life

Two boys sitting at a window. The large boy has his arm around the other boy's shoulders, offering him comfort.

My experience has been that although mindfulness meditation helps me to feel more joyful, an equivalent amount of lovingkindness meditation has an even greater effect on my sense of well-being.

Imbuing the mind with kindness insulates us from negativity, so that unskillful thoughts and emotions can’t easily take hold. It improves our emotional resiliency, so that challenging circumstances are less likely to drag us down. And it also helps us to feel greater contentment and happiness.

It’s not just formal sitting meditation practice that has this effect, though. Many other activities in daily life can become opportunities to cultivate metta. Here are a few suggestions to help you increase the amount of kindness in your life.

1. Mirror Meditation
As you’re looking in the mirror in the morning—while shaving or putting on makeup or fixing your hair—wish yourself well. Look at the face you see before you, and recognize that here is a being who wants to be happy, and who often finds happiness elusive. Repeat the metta phrases of your choice. Something like, “May I be well. May I be happy. May I find peace.”

2. Eating and Drinking
Practice gratitude. As you’re eating or drinking, recall that other beings made it possible for you to do this. The coffee you’re drinking or the cereal you’re eating have been grown, harvested, transported, and processed by many, many thousands of beings. The machinery used to do that growing, harvesting, transporting, and processing also involved many tens of thousands of beings. When you start to consider things like the clothing, the road systems, the housing, the electricity, etc., needed for those people, then you realize that you’re literally being served your breakfast by millions of people. So say “thank you,” and wish those beings well.

3. Driving or Walking
Whether you’re driving, walking, or taking public transport, any traveling you do is an ideal opportunity to wish others well. You can simply repeat “May all beings be well” as you see travelers and pedestrians passing by. But you could try giving up your seat on the bus, or letting someone merge into traffic, and notice how that makes you feel.

4. Working
Remember that every being you meet at work wants to be happy, but generally isn’t very skilled at finding happiness. This being human is a difficult thing. See if you can at least not make it harder for others to be happy, and perhaps make it just a little easier. Try telling yourself, “This person is doing the best they can with the resources available to them,” and notice how it changes your feelings about them.

5. Shopping
While cruising the aisles of your local supermarket, send salvos of metta towards other shoppers. When you’re in the line for the checkout, keep up a constant stream of well-wishing: “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be kind to yourself and others.”

6. Watching the News
There are people on the news who are suffering, and they’re the obvious recipients of your lovingkindness. The same applies for those who have done positive things. But there will also be people you might normally feel angered by—politicians from rival parties, criminals, people waging war—and it’s important to wish that they become kinder. Our harboring ill will toward them doesn’t affect their lives at all, but diminishes our own sense of wellbeing.

7. Hitting the Hay
Traditionally, the practice of lovingkindness is said to help promote good sleep and prevent insomnia. Lying in bed is a lovely time to wish yourself and others well. Wish yourself well, with particular focus on anything you have to rejoice about that day. Then wish yourself well with a focus on anything painful and unresolved from your day. Send lovingkindness to any feelings that come up. And wish others well. You can send kind and loving thoughts to family, to friends, and to people you’ve encountered during the day.

Slipping these extra minutes of lovingkindness practice into your daily life will bring you closer to an emotional tipping point where you feel unusual amounts of joy and wellbeing.

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Meditation can improve your life and work, but you have to do it like you mean it

wildmind meditation newsDov Seidman, Quartz: As those of us in the Northern hemisphere settle into the autumn, I’m mindful of persistent advice from business gurus telling me that I should be practicing mindfulness, but I’m even more mindful that mindfulness has become one of the most overused, watered-down tropes of the year.

The television series Silicon Valley nails this problem on the head, when it has Gavin Belson, the chief executive of Hooli, the show’s Google-like fictional technology company, consulting with his spiritual advisor for ways to use yoga and meditation to crush his opposition.

There’s nothing wrong with mindfulness in itself. But what we have …

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How corporates co-opted the art of mindfulness to make us bear the unbearable

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“If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.” Hsin Hsin Ming

Zoë Krupka (PhD Student Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University), The Conversation: Almost every person who walks through my practice doorway is anxious in some way. And so they should be. While their anxiety might be blasting messages at an overly high volume, the messages themselves are worth paying attention to: abusive relationships, significant losses and workplaces that have squeezed their personal, physical and spiritual lives into a corner too small for a hamster to burrow in.

Most come in hoping that the volume of their anxiety will be turned down, but many also hope that the messages themselves will go away. Like all of us, they want to find a way around having to take difficult action to change their lives. And for some of them, their hopes are pinned on our current corporatised misinterpretation of mindfulness. They’ve been sold on meditation as a simple way to bear the unbearable.

Pasteurised versions of the ancient practice of mindfulness are now big business …

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Is something lost when we use mindfulness as a productivity tool?

wildmind meditation newsCharlotte Lieberman, Harvard Business Review: I came to mindfulness as a healing practice after overcoming an addiction to Adderall during my junior year of college. I found myself in this situation because I thought that using Adderall to help me focus was no big deal — an attitude shared by 81% of students nationwide.

Adderall simply seemed like an innocuous shortcut to getting things done – and to do so efficiently yet effortlessly. I still remember the rush I felt my first night on Adderall: I completed every page of assigned Faulkner reading (not easy), started and finished a paper several weeks before the due date (because …

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Don’t worry, you can practice mindfulness and still be a jerk

wildmind meditation newsJeena Cho, Above the Law: In case you missed it, there was a cover story in the Wall Street Journal on mindfulness in the legal profession. It’s fair to say that when the WSJ is writing about mindfulness in law, it’s gone mainstream. I was interviewed and quoted in the article, and I’ll admit, I got a little teary eyed when I saw my name on the cover of the WSJ. Not bad for an immigrant “salon girl.”

In the July issue of the ABA Journal, there was an article titled How lawyers can avoid burnout and debilitating anxiety, citing meditation and mindfulness …

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