Mindfulness for #EventProfs during (but not limited to) Covid-19.
What would you say if tomorrow morning we would invite you to a different kind of breakfast? Yes, that is also mindfulness and in a historic moment such as during COVID-19, you may discover this of huge help during the lockdown, for both your free time and professional time as an #EventProf.
How to manage stress remains a primary need for event planners, even during these past few months as we are living a very different life from before. And why not taking advantage of your downtime after all? We are sure you don’t want to regret that when everything will be back to the usual work pace.
In the past few years, you might have heard of mindfulness before, as it’s becoming more and more popular. Even the NHS recommends it! But how was it born? What’s its purpose and how is it performed?
Well…would you be surprised if we would tell you that you could practice it anywhere doing anything? Professor Mark Williams taught us this. He is the former Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford. He co-developed the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and is the author of several international best-sellers, including The Mindful Way Through Depression and Mindfulness: a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
Let’s start by the definition of mindfulness: we could describe it as “knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves”, intentionally focusing on the present moment, with kindness and no judgement.
In a rush? Check our video summary:
How to practice mindfulness and what are the benefits for event professionals.
The first interesting fact is that mindfulness is a moment you take exclusively for yourself. Yes, it’s that break from everyday life that we all struggle to take and that is not so easy even now that we are home. To stop is quite extra-ordinary as it puts our attention on ourselves, sometimes to even find out that we are our merciless judges, making our life more difficult than what it is.
An even more curious point is that to be mindful, we don’t need to shut out the world. Instead of meditating once a day for 30 minutes, why not trying for one minute 30 times a day?
To do so, in addition to a more formal practise – such as breath meditation, walking meditation etc. – a more informal habit is added, transforming mindfulness in regular daily moments.
“We are used to be distracted in our daily lives; we carry out many automatic tasks without even paying attention to what we are doing or what we are surrounded by. For example, we often hear sounds as background noise, and even when we eat, we often think about something else. We are never here and now” explains Mark.
Each one of us is different, that’s why some people may find easier walking mindfully instead of focusing on their body or breath as they are more used to movement than stillness.
3 books to read about Mindfulness
If nowadays everything seems ‘postponed’, this is a precious opportunity to learn more about mindfulness.
Here some books about mindfulness we recommend you to read:
- Mindfulness per Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn
The author is the creator of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, which in the late 70s, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, created an eight weeks program for chronic pain patients called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
To define mindfulness, it’s therefore important to start from its origins, which is Kabat-Zinn. The American Professor, yoga enthusiast and Zen Buddhism connoisseur, was worried to appear as a hippy during those years, and he wanted to scientifically support his guidelines thanks to statistics and numbers, which allowed him to work in the science community, demonstrating mental and physical benefits of mindfulness.
- The Little Book of Mindfulness by Patrizia Collard
Dr Patrizia Collard is a psychotherapist based in south London, mindfulness teacher and psychotherapy Professor at the University of East London. This book is a beautifully colour-illustrated book with 40 easy ways to be mindful daily.
- Brainstorm: the power and purpose of the teenage brain by Daniel J. Siegel
This is a must-read for anyone interested in neuroscience, for parents (and not) to better understand how teenagers mentally develop.
A practical exercise to do at breakfast
We are all staying at home and among many challenges, a positive thing is that we have the opportunity to spend our time differently. What better chance than first trying mindfulness?
Tomorrow morning, while you have breakfast, chose a hot drink – coffee, tea or what you usually have – or something to eat, such as a biscuit or a toast. After you chose, take from 30 seconds up to 1 minute to fully live the moment: drink coffee, bite a toast…use all your senses, explore, smell, observe the colour, the texture…
Break the bread, listen to the noise it makes, notice if you want to eat it, taste it.
It looks too easy, but it may not be. To many it might be difficult to focus, to concentrate. Don’t get mad; take back your focus at the moment. The mind can be aggressive and we don’t always notice that.
Looking forward: mindfulness at the office (properly done)
As we were saying, mindfulness is now very trendy. A fascinating practice, that we sometimes see in corporate offices. As Event Profs, you may have even thought to introduce it at your next expo.
Let’s be clear: to be effective, companies need to be genuinely interested in their employees’ mindfulness journey and wellbeing. Today, it is known that happy employees work more efficiently, however, mindfulness cannot be considered as a separately scheduled moment. To make it clearer, you cannot obtain substantial results with no personalised sessions with flexible settings that facilitate employees needs, their working hours and dynamics. In addition to that, the theory needs to be applied to every day working life, on how meetings are managed, collaborations and so on, so that people can know each other more deeply and cooperate more efficiently. To achieve this you normally need 7/8 meetings.
Have you ever thought of introducing mindfulness in your life or office? If you do practice already is it helping you during a lockdown?
Let us know if you took our little breakfast mindfulness exercise! You won’t regret it.
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