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What to expect from a mindfulness initiative

In my last blog I discussed a variety of possible mindfulness based approaches that you might want to introduce to your workplace, and how to find a suitable mindfulness teacher to work with.

Today I discuss what to expect when planning and introducing a mindfulness programme to your people.

No need to reinvent the wheel

There are already many organisations who have introduced various mindfulness based approaches to their workforce. These include NHS trusts, financial organisations such as The Finance Innovation Lab, blue chip organisations such as BT, schools and Government departments like Transport for London. Even parliament is getting on board. Checking out the experience of some of these initiatives may be helpful, as it can highlight which approaches have worked and the lessons learnt.Mindfulness

Some practical considerations

When booking mindfulness training, make sure you have a space available that is warm and comfortable, and where people won't be disturbed or overlooked. Generally, the facilitator led and discussion elements of a mindfulness programme involve the engagement and active participation of everyone on the course. These sessions work best when participants can sit in a circle so that everyone is included and can see and hear each other.

In addition, for some of the meditation practices it will be necessary to have enough room for each person to lie out full length on the floor, if they chose to do so, and enough room to move freely around the space for movement meditation practices. Indeed, for this element of the programme it may be worth considering if there is a pleasant, private outside space available (weather permitting, of course).

How much time is required?

The standard MBSR/CT (Mindfulness based stress reduction/cognitive therapy programme) lasts for eight weeks and each session is usually about 2.5 hours long. However, you may have agreed a different format for your organisation.

Participants need to be aware that, in addition to the time directly spent with the teacher in the workplace, there is a requirement to commit to a daily home practice as well.

The paperwork

You should expect that once people have signed up for the programme they will receive a brief questionnaire from the teacher. This is likely to include information about their health and what they hope will be their personal outcomes from the programme.  This will, of course, provide an opportunity for them to discuss any concerns they may have.

What happens on a mindfulness course?

You can expect that everyone who attends will be introduced to a number of specific mindfulness meditation practices. These will include: the body scan meditation, mindful movement practices and sitting meditation. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to understand what mindfulness is and how it can be applied to their everyday lives, including in the workplace.

They are likely to explore perception, self-awareness, mindful communication, understanding stress and ways of responding to difficult/stressful situations. The programme will be cumulative and, in the last week, participants will be supported to look at the future and how they will maintain themselves and their practice.

Want to know more about how to make your team more resilient? Have a look at our Resilience Programme now. 

Deryl

Deryl Dix, Facilitator and Consultant

In my blogs I’ll discuss unconscious bias and the importance of inclusivity and mindfulness in workplace training.

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