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Mindfulness: the best people investment for 2015

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Charlotte Thaarup-Owen
Creative Transformations
Mindfulness is no longer considered the weird thing it was a couple of years ago, and how could it be when the smartest companies in the world are using it? Companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Carlsberg and Harvard University.
Seventy five percent of what we know about the brain we have learnt in the past three years.
We now know exactly what to do to increase resilience, clarity of mind and kindness while reducing overwhelm, absenteeism and frustration.
A key player in this is Mindfulness. Conclusive worldwide research shows mindfulness training in the workplace delivers the following:
• Improves our ability to focus and concentrate
• Improves efficiency and productivity
• Reduces stress and illness related absenteeism
• Benefits our health and relationships
• Improves our ability to bounce back after disappointments
• Assists hugely to improve our sleeping patterns, and
• Makes us feel better – much better!
Locally we ran our Mindfulness@Work program and had general wellbeing increase by 36%, how well stress is managed by 37%, how well people felt emotionally by 34% and a 33.9% increase in mental clarity.
So how does Mindfulness work?
Mindfulness training starts with attention training. Mind training is no different to any muscle training, it is just that you are training a muscle you can’t see, but you can notice the changes fairly quickly. It wouldn’t work if your brain didn’t change all the time. The brain changes constantly through what you pay attention to and what you experience.
One amazing fact that is: Attention is the scalpel that forms and shapes our brain.
Your ability to manage attention is shown through research to be the one factor above the school you went to, the postcode you grew up in and your parents, to determine whether you have a ‘successful’ life or not. (‘Focus’, by Daniel Goleman) One client after ten days on the program said “I feel my capacity has increased and I am less reactive in traffic as well as at home.”
Being able to focus, having clarity and mental agility are therefore some of the best investments you can make both personally and professionally. And that is only the beginning of what mindfulness offers!
Here are three things you can do right now:
1. Notice your breath, notice the gentle movement of your body as it is breathing.
2. Attend to Five Magic Breaths regularly during your day, the Five Magic breaths starts with closing the eyes and placing one hand on your lower abdomen. Notice the warmth that is generated between the hand and the body. Then follow the movement of the body breathing for five breaths.
3. Don't turn any electronic ‘stuff’ on till you have been up for at least one hour.
We are always training our brain for either good or bad future experiences, if the quality of your future is important to you, then consider a retreat, coaching or in house training.
Charlotte Thaarup Owen Charlotte Thaarup-Owen
is an internationally experienced consultant and transformative educator. She facilitates mindfulness and mindfulness based workshops both locally and abroad. Charlotte is a mediator and coach with over 20 years experience in facilitating change and personal and interpersonal development.