Access to a variety of free webinars and business training programs is one of the many benefits that New England College of Business provides its students. Most recently, in conjunction with Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA)’s Center for Mindfulness and Compassion, NECB hosted a webinar entitled “Living WELL, Working WISE – Mindfulness – What is it and what can it bring to the workplace?”
Led by Jody Daniels, CHA’s workplace mindfulness project manager and an instructor in mindfulness-based stress reduction, this business training webinar reviewed the basics of mindfulness and discussed some common mindfulness myths. Participants even had the opportunity to go through some mindfulness practices.
Daniels began her mindfulness training webinar with a check-in. She says that just as you check the weather in the morning, similarly, you can check your internal weather. Is it sunny? Cloudy? Is there a storm brewing?
She emphasizes that the webinar is a business training seminar, and that mindfulness is truly becoming a part of the corporate culture. Among the organizations extolling the benefits of mindfulness are manufacturing companies, law firms and even the United States Marine Corps. Even though mindfulness practice has existed for thousands of years, it was only secularized and popularized as recently as the 1980s.
According to Daniels, a world of constant distraction and a culture that glorifies being busy can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and compromised ability to make decisions. She states that managing attention could be the single most determinant of success, both in business and in personal lives:
“Attention is the most essential resource,” she says.
Attention, Daniels says, is simply focused awareness. Mindfulness is the ability to bring this focused attention to whatever you are experiencing, without letting thoughts or judgments interfere.
Daniels says: “Mindfulness practice is a skill which can enable you to clear your mind of clutter and focus on what’s important.”
She walks participants through a basic practice. First, she says to fix your attention on an anchor – something that is always there. This could be breath, sounds, or a body part. Try to focus and be aware.
Daniels warns that your mind will wander, because that’s what minds do. She says to notice when that happens, and try to pick up on patterns. To where does it wander? Your to-do-list? The past? The magic moment in mindfulness occurs in the redirect. After you notice your mind wandering, redirect your attention back to your anchor.
The benefits of mindfulness are numerous: reductions in high blood pressure, sleep and chronic pain, alongside improvements in focus, attention, regulating emotions, listening and compassion.
Daniels recommends mindfulness to everyone, and says that training can greatly increase your ability to practice it. NECB and CHA are partnering to offer Living WELL, Working WISE business training programs for anyone who wants to delve into mindfulness training.