The modern workplace can be a chaotic environment that contributes to high levels of stress. When feeling overwhelmed, we tend to go into 'autopilot' mode. Over time, a mind-body disconnect occurs and our innate capacity for self-awareness, self-regulation and self-care decreases. We begin to lose our appreciation for our unique aptitudes and capabilities. This can have a negative impact on our Emotional Intelligence. When not managed effectively, these factors lead to a decrease in workplace performance and a decline in productivity and morale.
Mindfulness training can bring about remarkable changes in the workplace, benefitting not only those who attend the training. Indeed, its ripple effect can extend to the entire organization.
Mindfulness teaches us to bring our attention to what is occurring in the present moment and observe our reactions in a non-judgmental way. Those practicing mindfulness report an increase in focus, concentration, memory, creativity and innovation. They experience an improvement in relationships due increased empathy and confidence, better communication and more collaboration.
Modeled on the science-based MBSR curriculum taught by the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Morneau Shepell’s seven-week Creating a mindful workplace is a highly experiential program that strengthens emotional resilience and intelligence.
Participants will implement mindfulness practices that result in:
- Focus for longer periods and work more effectively amidst distractions
- Thrive in a fast-paced environment, pivot faster, adapt and bounce back from challenges
- Observe thoughts and respond wisely as opposed to reacting impulsively
- Increase creativity, deepen insight and see things in new ways
- Create a healthier people culture
The program is comprised of an orientation session followed by six 90-minute lessons as follows:
- Become familiar with the structure of the Mindfulness program and its benefits
- Become familiar with the class structure, logistics and guidelines for participation
- Explore a brief history of Mindfulness and MBSR
- Explore the basics of mindfulness: what it is and what it’s not
- Understand the neuroscience behind mindfulness
Session 1: Fundamentals: Breathing, Intention, Attention and Attitude
- Explore how mindfulness increases our ability to navigate challenging situations
- Explore the three foundations of mindfulness
- Perform two mindfulness practices (movement and body)
Session 2: Perception and the Universality of the Wandering Mind
- Understand what causes stress and learn to respond effectively to stress
- Describe the challenges of a wandering mind
- Work with distractions and mind wandering
- Understand the influence of our perception
- Perform a standing yoga practice and the AOB (Awareness of Breath) sitting practice
Session 3: Self-Awareness and Working with Emotion
- Explain why we lose touch with self-awareness
- Examine why self-awareness is key to leadership
- Explore why understanding our mind and body is key to building self-awareness
- Explore the ‘Wheel of Awareness’ as a tool to build greater self-awareness
- Perform a standing yoga practice and the ‘Wheel of awareness’ practice
Session 4: Stress: Reactivity and Responding
- Learn to recover more rapidly from stressful encounters
- Increase capacity to be more aware of physical and mental perceptions and use this awareness to change habitual behaviours and choose more effective responses
- Learn to work with overwhelming thoughts
- Perform ‘awareness of thought’ and ‘listen to your thoughts without identifying with them’ guided practices
- Perform a standing yoga practice and a body scan
Session 5: Communication: Listening, Speaking, Empathy
- Develop transformational coping strategies, attitudes and behaviours for more effective and creative interpersonal communication
- Perform a standing yoga practice
Session 6: Keeping up the Momentum: Integrating Mindfulness into Work-life
- Review the core foundations of mindfulness
- Explore how to continue practicing mindfulness in your life
- Explore resources for further development
- Perform the AOB (Awareness of Breath) practice
Each lesson lasts 90 minutes and is structured as follows (approx.):
- Theory presented via a 30-minute presentation
- One or more guided mindfulness practices (30 minutes): yoga, sitting, body scan, walking meditation and mindful eating
- Pair and share exercises (15 minutes): Exploration of the relationship between mindful practice and the ability to more effectively deal with stress, understanding personal patterns and habits that arise in communication
- Group inquiry (15 minutes): Exploration of participants’ experience with mindfulness practice
- Daily 10-minute homework practice for 6 days.
Individuals in any industry, sector or occupation:
- Those seeking professional certification for mental health in the workplace.
- Individuals seeking to improve their ability to recognize and respond effectively to mental health issues.