Mindfulness in daily life: simple practice for daily living

 “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf”  

                                            Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Work-related stress affects not only the health and well-being of employees, but also the productivity of an organisation. It is the second most common compensated illness/injury in Australia.

When we are stressed, in physical or emotional pain, we understandably want to get rid of it as fast as possible. This may be through exercise, social activities, the arts, eating, sex, increased substance use, gambling, spending or other activities that help to distract from, push away or supress the pain. Distraction certainly has a place in managing stressors. However, research shows that when we try to ignore, avoid or push away physical pain, emotions or thoughts, they tend to bounce back stronger than ever.

Most of the chatter in our heads is self-critical or concerned about what others think. This is known as ‘monkey mind’. The result can be excessive worrying, anxiety or depression.  Our mind is wandering about 46.9 percent of the time, and no less than 30% of the time during every activity - except sex! Research found that people don’t merely fantasize when they are unhappy; instead, a wandering mind leads to unhappiness.

Mindfulness is the practice of ‘paying attention’ to internal experiences: thoughts, feelings, body sensations, movements and posture. It seems counter-intuitive to pay attention to what is causing distress. Yet, the research shows that mindfulness assists in building and maintaining resilience. The physical or emotional pain or critical thoughts may or may not lessen, but our capacity to deal with them grows.

This training explores what mindfulness is, what it is not and practical suggestions to incorporate simple strategies in daily life.

Learning Objectives:

 

Mindfulness is not a panacea and may be contraindicated for some people. If it doesn't help or makes you feel worse, this is not a failure of the individual or the practice but a recognition there is not a 'one size fits all' approach to life.