Being and getting the job done

So how do we bring awareness into action and learn to ‘be’ at work—while still getting the job done? One of the biggest misunderstandings in our line of work is when people think that practicing techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can only happen in one’s personal time and if anyone tries it out at work they’ll either get laughed at, or fired for time-wasting! Nothing could be further from the truth. These techniques can be integrated into a working day without taking out time from essential tasks and will actually add to our focus,...

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Our old-fashioned stress response

Fight or flight When we lived as hunter-gatherers in small tribes life was hard and much shorter than the average time we can hope to live for now. Tribes worked together to collect food, protect their young and defend their territory. From time to time a member of the tribe might face a life-threatening situation—like being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger. In order to meet the challenges of such an event their fight-or-flight mechanism would kick in preparing their body to stand and fight, or to run for their lives. We have just the same...

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Is gritting your teeth really good for you?

On a recent return flight to Amsterdam from the UK I overheard a fellow-passenger giving a flight attendant a really bad time. It was hard to catch the full story from where I was sitting but it involved the passenger asking for hot water in a plastic, see-through cup. Apparently cups of this sort are not safe to hold hot water and the only alternative was the purchase—for three euros—of a polystyrene cup. Not surprisingly the passenger found this rather excessive. What was more surprising was his response—he proceeded to cross-examine the...

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Some mindfulness exercises for your working day

Many of you will be familiar with the wonderful work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programmes. I recently came across an article by Saki F. Santorelli, one of the MBSR instructors at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The article is called, Mindfulness and Mastery in the Workplace. It presents 21 ways to reduce stress during the working day. I picked out a few that suggest more ways we can engage in mindfulness and meditation without drawing a lot of attention to...

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