Ultimately, the basic movement of mindfulness, involves anchoring one’s attention, keeping it there, noticing when the mind wanders, bringing it back and starting again (Goleman, 2013). Levett et al (2017) reported mindfulness techniques have a proven effect on stress reduction; the development of positive affect as well as positive emotions; and the promotion of resilience and, therefore, it has the potential to amplify the positive impact of workplace wellness interventions. In an interview with Ellen Langer, dubbed the “mother of mindfulness”, Chapman (2016) noted people who are mindful are more creative and productive and less stressed. Dr Andrew Rochford agrees: “Mindfulness is a safety net that we are all going to need at some stage in our life. We need to get better at dealing with the modern world, all the stats about anxiety, depression, youth mental health issues, diagnosable mental health issues; those stats are going up for a reason and they will continue to increase in my opinion. We need to create resilience within ourselves and mindfulness helps with that resilience.”
Our minds are full of chatter, which is sometimes referred to as the monkey mind – it jumps from one thing to the next. In our workplaces we tend to juggle between thoughts: what we are currently doing, and what we need to do next – and sometimes we attend to thoughts about multiple tasks needing to be done. Often this chatter becomes a stream of consciousness whereby we go to autopilot, and lose time –mindlessness. Taylor (2015) argues thought-chatter fades away when we become absorbed in external things, such as engaging in challenging jobs or hobbies, or in distractions and entertainment, like watching TV or reading a novel. Social psychologist Ellen Langer (cited in Chapman, 2016) says people who are mindful are more creative and productive, and less stressed.
The practise of mindfulness is learning to focus attention on observing the present experience, without judgement (de Manincor, Bensoussan, Smith, Fahey, & Bourchier, 2015).
Meaning at Work
Research has shown that the experience of meaningful work is associated with a range of beneficial outcomes for individuals and employers, including high levels of engagement, performance and creativity, improved wellbeing, satisfaction and intent to remain (Bailey et al, 2017). Overell (2008: 13) cites McDonald’s UK Director of People as stating that if the company could offer more meaningfulness to its staff:
- 55% would be more motivated
- 42% would have greater loyalty
- 32% would experience more pride.