The Science

There is an increasing integration and application of mindfulness and empathy based courses within a whole range of organisations including but not limited to Google, Disney, Deutsch Bank and Twitter.

These programmes are expanding in number because they foster engagement, focus, empathy and create a more adaptive, purpose based culture – all related to increases in performance, enhanced collective intelligence, shared decision making and ultimately for fostering effective and dynamic organisations.

The timing is fortuitous as according to Gallup a new 142 country study shows that only “about one in eight workers … are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations [i].” Can this situation endure with ever increasing customer demands, increasing innovation and product cycles, competitive market places and the emergence of more and more disruptive technologies?

A summary of mindfulness benefits include

  • Increased focus and less susceptibility to distraction
  • More effective decision making, problem solving and communication abilities
  • ​More effective ability to cope with and facilitate change
  • ​More ability to effectively multi-task
  • Emotional stability, resilience, health and happiness

In summary it leads to a cool head and a warm heart.

  • more effective multi-tasking
  • more effective decision making
  • increased focus
  • Increased performance through regulated stress and reduced allostatic load
  • Emotional Stability and resilience
  • Increased happiness, optimism
  • healthy body
  • Collaborating with others

Mindfulness training has been shown to facilitate a more mindful approach to multi-tasking, providing increased focus and decreased stress during the multi-tasking demands of the modern workplace[ii] Multi-tasking is a fact of our modern, connected life. However multi-taskers experience a drop of 40% in productivity across the board, take 50% longer to accomplish a single task and make 50% more errors[iii]. Our attention splinters and degrades as we move quickly across tasks. Task switching (which is actually what multi-tasking is) also increases the stress response in the body and increases tension in the part of the brain related to executive function (responsible for decision making, prioritisation and communication).

[i] http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx

[ii] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elisha-goldstein-phd/mindfulness-multitasking_b_3224494.html

[iii] brain rules, by john medina (2008)

[iv]http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233421440_Mindfulnessbased_stress_reduction_effects_on_ moral_reasoning_and_decision_making

[v] http://phd.insead.edu/students/profiles/0768888/Psychological%20Science-2013-Hafenbrack%20Kinias%20Barsade.pdf

[vi] (Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee, 1995; Goleman, 1995; Boyatzis and McKee, 2005; Goleman, 2006).

[vii] The mind’s own physician: A scientific dialogue with the Dalai Lama loc 1106 Kindle edition

[viii] Quoted in Begley, S., Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain (Ballantine Books, 2007) 242 [ix] The mind’s own physician: A scientific dialogue with the Dalai Lama loc 3923 Kindle edition [x] t-mobile (2012)

[xi] Dr Gloria Mark (research, 2013) *information professionals

[xii] B.K. Holzel, J. Carmody, M. Vangal, et al., “Stress reduction correlates with structural changes in the amygdala” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 5, no. 1 (2010): 11-17

[xiii] B.K. Holzel, J. Carmody, M. Vangal, et al., “Mindfulness Practise leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density”, Psychiatry Research 191, no.1 (2011): 36-43

[xiv] http://www.news.wisc.edu/22370

[xv] Hippocampus and the Prefontal Cortex

[xvi] Amygdala

[xvii] Fraser, Andy (2013-07-02). The Healing Power of Meditation: Leading Experts on Buddhism, Psychology, and Medicine Explore the Health Benefits of Contemplative Practice (Kindle Locations 264-273). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

​[xviii] Begley, S., ‘How the Brain Rewires itself’, TIME Magazine (19 January 2007), article at http:// www.time.com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,1580438,00. html

[xvix] Estrada, Isen & Young, 1997).

[xviii] Begley, S., ‘How the Brain Rewires itself’, TIME Magazine (19 January 2007), article at http:// www.time.com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,1580438,00. html

[xx] Seligman, 1991

[xxi] Lyubomirsky, et al., 2005

[xxii] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142512.htm

[xxiii] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131208090343.htm

[xxiv] Fraser, Andy (2013-07-02). The Healing Power of Meditation: Leading Experts on Buddhism, Psychology, and Medicine Explore the Health Benefits of Contemplative Practice (Kindle Locations 264-273). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

[xxv] The mind’s own physician: A scientific dialogue with the Dalai Lama loc 1128 Kindle edition

[xxvi] Cooper, Maureen (2013-09-19). The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress (Compassionate Mind Series) (Kindle Locations 4221-4222). Constable Robinson. Kindle Edition.