It is encouraging to see how eventually the Sri Lankan corporates have begun to appreciate the importance of mindfulness. The response we had at the AAT and HR National conferences for mindfulness had been overwhelming. Must thank the west for promoting mindfulness, otherwise we would still be thinking that this is only for serious meditators who spend time in hermitages.
Workplace related stresses and the inability to cope up with the challenges of day-to-day life, strained relationships, low engagement at work, low attention, has triggered many a HR professionals to explore the benefits offered by the practice of mindfulness.
The simple practice of becoming aware of what happens here and now, a basic teaching in Buddhist meditation practice gained such popularity after the effects of meditation had been established with empirical scientific evidence. Ideally in Sri Lanka everyone should be learning the practice of mindfulness for free!
Many have asked me for ideas as to how mindfulness can be integrated in to workplaces and given are a number of simple practices that can be adopted to create a mindful work culture.
- Manage time so you can arrive on time and will be able to attend fully
- Arrive having prepared well for the meeting
- Search inward to recognise any emotional touch points
- Disconnect or phone on flight mode
- Before starting the meeting observe breath for few minutes
- Extend good wishes to all the members before starting the meeting
- Emotional imbalance – observe breath
- Recall the meeting in silence and assess how you performed
- Create a small corner in the office where anyone can sit in silence for a few minutes a day
- Create a group so that every day or two days a week sit to practice before going home
- Use the internal piped music system to deliver one minute mindfulness breaks
- Make it a habit to drink the two teas mindfully
- In between work observe breath to recharge
- Check within how long you worked at a stretch without losing focus
- Read the email before sending.
- Watch the breath – in or out – before answering the phone
- Greet with a smile
- Share messages that inspire the practice of mindfulness and mindfulness based insights
- Create and display mindfulness inspired posters and keep them changing regularly
- Enrich the vocabulary with mindfulness inspiring words. Such as: Slowly, Mindfully, Silently (SMS)
- Add words of mindfulness to email signature line
- Share links with guided mindfulness instructions
- Have quarterly Mindfulness Retreats
(The writer is author of the book ‘Inward bound for mindful living’.)