When life throws difficulties at us and the mind is restless, emotional resilience will see us through challenging times. We can work through tempestuous emotions and self-doubt and come through them unharmed and avoid self-sabotage and self-harm.
Whether someone is a CEO of a major corporation or is serving meals in a diner, failure to adopt a mindful approach will mean that mental and emotional exhaustion could become a habitual condition. Whether someone is stressed about their stocks losing value or being able to pay their bills, the internal underlying conditions of stress and pressure are essentially the same.
We cannot control the mind by trying to force it to be peaceful or positive. Many have attempted this using a plethora of methods throughout the ages, but it simply does not work. Trying to fight the human mind is like walking into a lion's den empty-handed and believing that you have a realistic chance of defending yourself.
The beauty of mindful-life-breath meditation is that you are not restricted to having to sit in the lotus position to be present. Whether you are on a busy train, driving a car or walking down a crowded high-street, you can easily remind yourself to focus on your breathing. Appreciate the subtle sensation of oxygen flowing in and out of your nostrils.
Like gratitude, authentic appreciation in the workplace is a realisation that can be nurtured and accessed with daily mindful practice. By and large, people who are grateful, happy and enthusiastic are going to demonstrate better performance than those who are unhappy and unappreciative. There is increasing evidence that a grateful mindset amplifies happiness and mental and emotional wellbeing.
The Happiest Man in The World The French interpreter for the 14th Dalai Lama, former academic and dedicated meditator Matthieu Ricard, came into the spotlight in the field of neural science after being named 'the happiest man in the world'. Naturally, there are many other men and women who demonstrate such equanimity, but the studies on his brain uncovered truly astonishing results. MRI scans showed that Matthieu Ricard and other serious long-term meditators (with more than 10, 000 hours of practice each) were mentally, emotionally and spiritually fulfilled and displayed an abundance of positive emotions and equanimity in the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain. When talking about his mindfulness training, Matthieu Ricard said with humility that: 'Happiness is a skill. It requires effort and time'.
To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centred. A major component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with love, care, dignity and make your wellbeing a priority. With self-compassion, we still hold ourselves accountable professionally and personally, but there are no toxic emotions inflicted upon and towards ourselves.
Many of us have been unconsciously programmed to treat walking as a means to an end, especially while in the workplace. Naturally, a lack of mindfulness while walking leaves one hostage to self-perpetuating stress and anxiety. We rush (often while shouting into a mobile phone), completely missing the enjoyment of walking. Walking and breathing, if practised harmoniously, can be peaceful and thoroughly enjoyable. Even walking down a corridor or into an office or wherever we are working or being of service can be a harmonious action.
The incredible benefits of practising and applying mindfulness and self-compassion in the workplace are being increasingly recognised by human resource professionals as well as the medical profession, as the stresses of competing in today's global economy take their toll on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of many otherwise talented and enthusiastic individuals in the workplace.
Learning to practise mindfulness greatly enhances our ability to manifest emotional intelligence and equanimity under pressure and to display calmness, empathy and adaptability when communicating with others, whether it be with co-workers, clients or the board of directors. Learning to apply mindfulness on a daily basis will significantly encourage a positive, creative and enthusiastic attitude at all levels in companies large and small.
The process of applying Mindfulness Burnout Prevention (MBP) in the workplace or any environment has a much more far-reaching effect than simply accessing equanimity throughout the vicissitudes of life. Continuous learning helps us to stay youthful, sharpen our mental faculties and wire new neural connections in our brain (making us better equipped to accomplish); it is also a sign of humility.