Why mindfulness is an important part of life
We asked Cherish PR’s mindfulness coach, Stuart Hillston, to write a guest blog about the importance of mindfulness and is currently training the team on how to become more mindful.
Why mindfulness is an important part of life, in and outside of work?
In 2016 the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group published a report entitled “Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace”. That such a group even exists is a surprise to many. In fact, there are several hundred members of parliament practicing Mindfulness regularly, and promoting its use in schools, businesses and for individuals.
So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a 2,500 year old Buddhist tradition and is currently an established medical practice. Mindfulness is not just about meditation. It is a way of living and working which reduces your stress, making your life more enjoyable and less stressful. It is secular (non-religious) and proven through scientific research to have positive impact on individuals and now there’s recent evidence that it’s even more effective in groups.
The scientific approach has developed a body of research and evidence that is so compelling that the NHS recommends Mindfulness for patients who have suffered from depression and are suffering from stress.
The human brain is a remarkable thing. Contrary to popular belief it can grow, change, add and remove cells based on regular activity. This is the basis of neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change and adapt right through our lives.
At the centre of the brain are the elements that have been with us through human evolution. This is called the limbic system and sitting within that is the amygdala. Do you know that feeling when someone cuts in front of you in a shop, or your boss chews you out? That sudden flush of adrenalin, the increased pulse, the flash of anger? The impulse to act.
Say “hello” to your amygdala, controlling our emotions at their basic levels, the fight, flight or freeze response. In a flash you react, and sometimes regret it afterwards. Stress is substantially about our conflict between that emotional reaction and the circumstances. You may want to run away, or hit someone, but you don’t. You suppress the reaction which in turn affects the psychological and physiological effect on the mind and body which accumulates over time, so we’re more likely to react next time.
If there was a way to choose how to respond rather than react, diminishing the impulsive response and reducing your stress, would you be interested?
Mindfulness training, particularly for the “variant” called MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy), will reduce your stress, reduce your chances of recurring depression, make your life feel more manageable and make you a better workmate. If all the people in your team develop Mindfulness skills, your productivity, effectiveness and satisfaction of working together will dramatically increase.
Mindfulness will not make everyone like you – or you like everyone else. It will put you in control of your interactions with other people so you become more real and genuine. Not only will your work life improve, you will find that your personal relationships will improve too.
Isn’t that something you should be thinking about?
By Stuart Hillston, mentor, coach & counsellor to entrepreneurs. Also a qualified mindfulness coach.
Stuart Hillston is a certified Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher who has been a successful software entrepreneur, professional investor and mentor/coach around the world. His sole focus now is to help others live happier lives.
He is co-founder of Cobalt Mental Health (www.cobaltmentalhealth.com) and runs a private client practice teaching Mindfulness and using Hypnotherapy to improve his client’s lives (www.hareandmoon.com) . He recently launched a podcast about mental health in the workplace (www.youarenotalone.fm).