By Heather Campbell >>
A couple of weekends ago I spent a few days near Dunoon in the West of Scotland. This was my first visit and I was astounded by the beauty to be found in the surrounding countryside. While it is impossible to capture this fully on camera, these photographs show some of the breathtaking scenery. It was easy to relax and just let time pass in these peaceful surroundings.
To help me relax in my more hectic, everyday life I practise meditation. While this is still somewhat sporadic, I find a difference in terms of feeling calmer and less stressed when I do so. I like to understand the science underpinning these practices as I tend to start from a position of scepticism, so I have researched the science behind the impact of meditation in some depth. There are clear changes in brain activity amongst regular meditators and research evidence to date shows that, as well as reducing stress, regular meditation brings greater clarity of mind and improved physical health.
As a specialist in the field of business communication, I think there is scope to introduce meditation into the workplace as a way to help improve human interaction and hence drive up business performance. I have focussed less on full-blown meditation, instead placing greater emphasis on its close relation, mindfulness. At its simplest level, mindfulness is about noticing what is going on in the moment – rather than allowing our minds to race around from one topic to another, often without any conscious awareness of our current surroundings.
Mindfulness can be introduced quite easily into the workplace. For example, I have found that encouraging people to pause for one minute at the start of a meeting, and again for one minute at the end – to consciously bring their attention fully into the meeting at the beginning and to consciously prepare to leave the meeting and move on to the next task at the end – is time well spent. While the initial response amongst participants is nervous laughter, once they settle into the practice meetings become more productive and focussed, and there is less stress present between those taking part.
Do you know of anyone who employs meditation in the workplace, or who encourages mindfulness as part of the meetings process? If so, I’d be interested to hear from them to find out about their experiences. Or if this seems like one of the craziest ideas you’ve ever heard, I’d also like to hear your views!