High blood pressure, cardiac Issues, chronic pain and fatigue, obesity, GI distress, and addiction all have been linked to high experiences of workplace stress.
But for most people there’s a disconnect between meditation and real life workplace stress…how does sitting on a cushion in meditation relate to the boardroom? To never-ending deadlines? To dealing with co-workers?
How we teach the integration of mindfulness with the workplace can be best understood by looking at how a good tennis player plays the game. Each and every single time the opponent hits the ball, any decent tennis player will try to take a split step. It’s that little micro jump the athlete uses to regain his or her center for gravity, so that they can then nimbly move in whatever direction is necessary.
A starting point for integrating mindfulness into the workplace is to use short practices that enable us to create that mental split step. These 3 – 5 minute practices can be done anytime and anywhere we need to regain our center of gravity.
Once we start to feel the benefit right out in our daily work lives, we can begin to practice outside of work as well.
Another sports metaphor to help us understand how our daily personal practice impacts our daily workday stress can be that of a basketball player. In practice, the player shoots shot after shot, so that when he or she actually get in the game, and the opponents are crashing down, they might actually make the shot.
That’s exactly how we begin to bridge the gap between our out-of-work meditation practice and what’s going on in the mind when we’re at work. At home we can begin to practice stabilizing our minds, maybe for 10 or 20 minutes before we go to bed, and then we start to get good at a skill that’s critical to stress reduction – mental stabilization. So that when we’re at work, and the opponents are crashing down on us, we might actually be able to stay strong and stable…because it’s what we’ve been practicing.
Michelle DuVal, MA, is the current director of The Mindful Center, as well as the leading provider of Mindfulness Training in the Southwest United States, with her ongoing programs appearing in such top institutions as Presbyterian Hospitals, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, the New Mexico Heart Institute, the Albuquerque Public School system, Evolutions Family Counseling, and more. Her skill in teaching comes not only from her training with some of the top meditation masters in the world, but also from years of learning and teaching with her father. All of her programs are evidence based, steeped in research, and skillfully interweave the profundity of the practice and the humor of insight every step of the way. She has been a featured speaker at numerous conventions, including the Presbyterian Medical/ Surgical symposium, the SIMPLE conference, the National Association of Social Workers convention, the OSLER symposium, the Leadership Development Institute and she is the leader of the meditation workshops for the Cancer Services of New Mexico bi-annual retreats as well as for the cardiac rehab programs at Presbyterian Healthplex.