Category Archives: Topics

Talk and Listen with Mindfulness  

listening2I have been reading and practicing with some teachings on mindful speech recently and it seems to be an area of great difficulty for most people.  I know it is for me and it is something that I am sure I will work on for the rest of my life.

What is mindful communication?

Mindful communication happens when you are truly present in this moment with curiosity, kindness, and compassion. You listen with an open, nonjudgmental heart to the other person. You speak skillfully, generally avoiding lying, harsh language, gossip, divisive speech. (Did I lose most of you here?)  Before you speak, you ask yourself is it useful, true, beneficial, and timely.

Here are just a few things that make mindful communication difficult. Continue reading

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Mindful Leaders Matter at Work

performance level conceptual meterIf you’ve had a job for any length of time, it is not lost on you that your supervisor can have a significant impact on your day.  Your relationship to your supervisor can make you feel like being more or less productive and empowered. As a leader, it is important to know what brings out the best in your employees.  As an employee, it feels great to work for someone who understands and practices effective leadership skills.

The role of mindfulness in the workplace has increasingly been recognized as an important quality associated with better task performance, lower emotional exhaustion, better social relationships, and enhanced well-being (Narayanan, Chaturvedi, Reb, and Srinivas, 2011; Glomb, Duffy, Bono, and Yang, 2011).  Research has also examined how supervisors’ mindfulness impacts their employees’ well-being and performance (Matthias, Narayanan, and Chaturvedi, 2014).

How mindfulness can help leaders in their ability to strengthen the workplace was directly examined in a recent study of a variety of work settings (Matthias, Narayanan, & Chaturvedi, 2014). The study found that employees whose supervisors who were more mindful had less emotional exhaustion and better work-life balance. Further, mindfulness of the supervisor was positively related to overall employee performance and job satisfaction and negatively related to employee deviance.

Mindfulness, present-moment awareness with an observing, non-judging stance, can influence the workplace in the following ways:

  1. Move people from an adversarial mindset to a more collaborative mindset (Riskin, 2002)
  2. Improve social interactions between co-workers and supervisors (Wachs & Cordova, 2007)
  3. Cope better with stressful relationships (Barnes et al 2007)
  4. Understand others’ emotional states as well as better understand one’s own emotions (Arch & Craskse, 2006)
  5. Be fully present in interactions with each other in order to demonstrate respect

To become the leader that truly inspires, cultivating the skill of mindfulness can increase awareness of yourself and others in order to increase your emotional intelligence and authentic leadership ability—two concepts known to be associated with great leadership.

For more information about mindful leadership, check out Janice Marturano’s book “Finding the Space to Lead” and her website which has lots of mindfulness meditations you can use throughout the workday.   Books on the Neuroleadership website by David Rock and “Search Inside Yourself” are also good resources for enhancing your leadership skills.

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Mindfulness Rescues Relationships

Having just finished an 8 week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) this summer with faculty and staff at the University of Missouri, I noticed a particular common outcome for many of the participants. “My relationship with my husband/wife/partner/co-worker is better.”

There were a number of reasons why these relationships had improved.

iStock_000014175387_Medium1. I listened to my partner without interrupting.
2. I let my partner get angry or frustrated without needing to fix it.
3. I was able to tolerate negative emotions without running away.
4. I was able to let my negative reactions come and go without acting on them.
5. I am happier.

These improvements in  relationships are backed up by current research which explores the how relationships improve with increased mindfulness.  Wachs and Cordova (2007) found a significant correlation between mindfulness and global marital adjustment. In essence, “more mindful partners literally see each other more clearly, regard each other more nonjudgmentally, behave more responsively toward each other, and navigate challenging waters of intimacy more gracefully.”

Mindfulness increases the ability to both communicate emotions and understand the emotions of others.  Mindfulness also helps you think twice about reacting to another person’s anger or stress–being able to access a sense of ease even in the midst of difficulties that often arise in relationships, be they marital or work.

Note: I offer two-for-one specials for spouses or partners on MBSR programs which are taught at each University of Missouri campus at least once a year (3 times in Columbia) and there is an excellent online version for free by my colleague Dave Potter if you can’t get to an in-person class.  The next in-person classes start in September. If you work for the University of Missouri you can get 100 incentive points in 2016 for successfully completing any of these in-person and on-line programs.

Don’t wait to improve your relationships. Join an MBSR program in your area and let mindfulness come to the rescue.

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Go Ahead and Smile!

A handsome young black man against a yellow background

With the current Fitbit craze, you’re probably aware of the health benefits of getting in 10,000 steps a day. But are you aware of all of the health benefits of smiling?

I’d like to invite you to do a little experiment. Put a smile on your face right now and leave it there for 30 seconds. Notice how it makes you feel.  According to the facial feedback hypothesis, facial muscles not only express emotions, but they also have the ability to modulate how you feel. In other words, if you put a smile on your face you can change from feeling angry or anxious to feeling happier or initiate a happy feeling “out of the blue.” When you smile, you are literally sending messages to your brain that you’re happy and eventually you agree. Continue reading

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Strengthen Your Meditation Muscles

Lynn_June_Med_20824001_sResearch indicates that mindfulness is one of the most important skills for changing how you eat and how you feel about your body.  Mindfulness is a skill that helps you focus and attend to sensations like hunger, satiety, and taste, as well as increases kindness and self-compassion. Meditation practice is a method for strengthening your mindfulness. It’s like going to the gym for your mind.

If you’d like to know more, I’m conducting a three part series called Meditation and Mindful Eating for The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) this summer.   This three part series will take of the mystery out of meditation, show you how to apply it to mindful eating, and help you establish a meditation practice of your own.

The cost is $10 per session or it’s free if you become a member of TCME.  Part I is on Concentration and Lovingkindness Practice, Part II is Mindfulness – Sitting Makes Eating So Much Better, and Part III is Making Your Meditation Practice a Non-negotiable Priority.  I hope you can join me! Part I is on Thursday, June 25, at 4:30 (CST). To register go to TCME. http://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/event-1920892

 

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