17TH APRIL 2017
Most of us at some time in our life wish it could be easier and happier. One of the misconceptions about resilience is that by learning the skills you will somehow become happier, that things (little and big) won’t get to you any more. However, mindfulness meditation is much more powerful than a fleeting sense of happiness.
As one of the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre’s Techwerks trainers, I and the original team had the opportunity to be trained by the Techwerks American crew. It was an amazing experience. Two of the lead trainers had careers in the US defense forces and both looked the part, straight out of the pages of a Hollywood action movie! Seriously, if you needed someone to take charge and save lives, these were the blokes you would want to have around. And there they were, in Adelaide, teaching us resilience skills. One of the key skills they taught was mindfulness. They swore by its effectiveness both on and off the field.
So, how does mindfulness help you at work? I asked a couple of my clients why they meditate. ‘It puts me in a good space- grounded, relaxed and confident and this rubs off on the rest of the team,’ said one manager. Another said she found she could tackle problems better and it opened her mind to new solutions.
Research suggests mindfulness keeps our brain healthy and supports self-regulation and effective decision-making. It does this by giving you the tools to train your brain to notice your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. Having the thought and not getting caught up in the story gives you a choice about what you do next. This has huge benefits in all areas of your life.
Mindfulness, practiced properly and regularly is a deceptively simple yet life-changing experience. It deepens personal awareness and sharpens clarity. It also strengthens engagement with the world in a non-judgmental and open way. In the increasingly complex lives we live these qualities are needed more urgently than ever. The US Defense Force personnel are trained in mindfulness, major corporations like Facebook, Google and Apple have meditation rooms and increasingly these courses are being taught in Australian schools and workplaces as well.
In difficult times, mindfulness gives us the space to consider what we an control in the situation, what is important, what are our values and what can be done (if anything). In this way mindfulness builds our resilience by allowing us to better prepare ourselves to meet the demands of our everyday lives. A lot of it we have little control over, however our response is always ours to own. This may or may not make you happy but it is always empowering.