How to use mindfulness at work? ProfileTree had a chance to hear some expert insights into mindfulness thanks to a visit to our video studio by specialist coach Bridgeen Rea-Kaya.
Bridgeen, a wellbeing expert and founder of Immeasurable Minds, introduced her business by explaining the main areas covered by the company and thinking behind its name.
“I teach mindfulness, self-compassion, stress reduction…all those kinds of things.
“Immeasurable Minds…is a term that refers to a teaching by The Buddha called The Four Immeasurable Minds, or the Four Minds of Love. Its loving kindness, compassion including self-compassion, joy..something we can cultivate, and equanimity which means inclusiveness meaning everything is included and there’s no discrimination, a balanced mind.
“It means I’m not just limited to teaching only mindfulness, it’s anything that touches on those Minds of Love.”
She also explained the ethos behind work as “really about empowering people”.
“When people come to my courses and workshops and retreats and things like that, they learn tools and techniques they can apply to their daily life…and literally they change their life, all the time I’m told. I’ve got this many thank you cards and gifts from people who just say it changed their life.”
But what is mindfulness? Bridgeen said her “standard, secular definition of mindfulness” includes an understanding of awareness.
“It’s paying attention to what we are doing right now which is speaking and listening so we’re aware of that. But it’s how you pay attention…it’s how you talk to yourself, paying attention in a kind way. It’s cultivating that.
“People come to me for tools and techniques, and I can teach that, but it’s actually about a way of life and bringing mindfulness into everything you do.
“Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something…there’s always an object of our mindfulness.”
She also explained the concept of ‘mindful self-compassion’.
“It’s about being kind to ourselves, so the research shows that 78% of people are nicer to others than they are to themselves. So if you are hard on yourself…its learning to be kind to ourselves as if you want to be kind to other people, understand others, be a nicer person you need to start with yourself.
“We haven’t been taught that, so some of my classes will teach you to turn towards yourself with a kinder attitude.”
ProfileTree’s Ciaran Connolly asked how mindfulness could help in business.
“Even locally I would go into Tesco in Northern Ireland quite regularly, and I’ve been all the different banks and big companies. A lot of people get me in once a year for Wellbeing Week, which is fine, but I much prefer a company like Tesco who’ll invest in it across the year and have a consistent programme going on of looking at their staff and what they need and reduce stress.
“…the highest proportion of people off on sick are to do with stress. That’s why everyone has heard of mindfulness now. When I first started doing it people thought I was some kind of weirdo, and now I’m in demand.
“But there’s loads of science on it, there’s neuroscience to show how it affects the brain. After 100 minutes of practising mindfulness, the parts of your brain to do with anxiety and stress start to shrink and the parts of the brain to do with happiness and contentment increase.
“It thickens the Pre-Frontal Cortex, our thinking rational mind.”
Bridgeen added that, due to the weight of science supporting the techniques, “everyone should be doing this” in the workplace.
She gave the example of a retail environment.
“For the managers especially, having to run the shop and having to deal with the staff and all the demands and the 24/7…how do we deal with this and stay well?”
To discover more insights from Bridgeen explore our full Business Leaders series video interview.
Immeasurable Minds – www.ImmeasurableMinds.co.uk
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