Tag: mental health

On-line Mindfulness Meditation

Image par John Hain de Pixabay

What is Mindfulness?

The word Mindfulness means COMPASSIONATE and LUCID AWARENESS, a sense of knowing what is happening in the external and internal world, as it is happening.

Most of us are more used to its opposite: “mindlessness” –when we are not really conscious of what is going on, and liable to make mistakes.

In the Buddhist tradition, Mindfulness is explained as a momentary sense and impression of how past, present and future moments arise and cease.

And in practice, Mindfulness purposely brings one’s attention in the present moment without judgment, and has two main parts: attention and acceptance.

  • Attention typically involves directing one’s awareness to breath, thoughts, physical sensations in the body and the feelings experienced on the moment.
  • Acceptance involves observing those feelings and sensations without judgment. Instead of responding or reacting to those thoughts or feelings, one aims at acknowledging them and letting them go, the result being an increased ability to manage them.

The scientific back-up of Mindfulness

In the 1970’s, the professor Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre researched thoroughly Mindfulness and gathered evidence for its effects on focus, anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain and general health.

As a result, a growing awareness of the importance of our emotional fitness through Mindfulness has risen, in a very similar way to the journey of acceptance of physical exercise in the 20th century. Early on, sports were not recognised for their physical and mental positive effect, and somebody going to jog would be labelled as a lunatic!. But after a large body of scientific evidence was gathered, sports became identified as a powerful tool to regulate health.

The introduction of Mindfulness in UK and USA institutions

Mindfulness meditation benefits now from a general acceptance, and the Pr Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the Patrons of the UK Mindfulness Initiative which has led the Mindfulness programme in the British Parliament.

Mindfulness is recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past.

Mindfulness has also entered the corporate work environment, for instance at the Californian Company Google where meetings are used to start with a Mindfulness intro.

Chade-Meng Tan, head of Mindfulness training up to 2015 at Google states:

 “If you are a company leader who says employees should be encouraged to exercise, nobody looks at you funny, the same thing is happening to meditation and mindfulness, because now that it’s become scientific, it has been demystified. It’s going to be seen as fitness for the mind.”

Tan also says that mindfulness opens the doorway to loving kindness, which is at the heart of business success.

«In many situations, goodness is good for business, if you, as the boss, are nice to your employees, they are happy, they treat their customers well, the customers are happy to spend more money, and so everybody wins.”

The On-Line Mindfulness session

A 20 min seated session, with a few gentle twists and breathing techniques, bringing the feeling of grounding and clarity into our daily lives.

The session teacher: Aneta Grabiec

Aneta Grabiec is already providing the same format session to many UK companies very successfully.

Author of 3 Well-being eBooks and numbers of wellness articles published nationwide, Aneta Grabiec has always been passionate about the science of wellness through her studies of psychology (BA), NLP (MA), Nutritional Therapy (Nutritional Therapist Diploma ), Detox  and Toxicology (The Detox Specialist and Toxicology Expert Diploma), the Science of Yoga (BWY, Yoga Alliance). With over fifteen years of experience and care for the others, Aneta helps people reach a healthy mind-body connection, with exercise and nutrition as the recipe for longevity and happy, healthy living.

Her Website:

www.thewellnessdesigner.com

Image par Okan Caliskan de Pixabay

Handling of Stress at Work

Below are listed several mechanisms behind stress and mental health at work, which can be greatly helped with “low tech, low cost” interventions such as therapies or fitness.

The result is then accompanied by increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism and presenteeism.

  1. Fight & flight mode closure. The function of stress, with its specific neurogical  “wiring” has not changed since prehistory. It is aimed at preparing the individual for either “Fight” or “Flight” with increased blood supply to brain, lungs and muscles, and decreased activity of background tasks such as digestion. But in an office environment, we do not fight anymore against predators of the Paleolithic period but against virtual enemies such as dead-lines. Stress at work does not lead anymore to a physical outburst, instead we remain seated at our desk, boiling inside. Exercise allows the sedentary worker’s body to complete the expected neurological “Fight & Flight” loop cycle. The nervous system is then tricked into thinking that stress was aimed at the activity expressed during exercice, it can therefore come back to normal state afterwards. Medium to Strong Intensity exercise ( e.g. with a personal trainer)  is therefore a good way to regulate the nervous system, in times of increased stress.
  1. Acute stress takes its toll on the body when it lasts too long. Imagine a cat which is constantly startled with a round back and raised hair. His whole body would be quite uncomfortable to live in after a while. Physical therapy (massage, osteopathy, acupuncture, etc.) helps rebalance the different parts of the autonomic nervous system involved in stress and therefore reset the tone of the contracted tissues, to help the body to come back to “neutral mode”.
  2. Chronic Stress is also the body’s response to almost any lasting disturbance, inflammation, toxic load, etc… in addition to mentally challenging situations. It is the body’s attempt to best regulate itself when its normal physiological limits are challenged. Osteopathy and Acupuncture can help normalize the different systems of the body : endocrine, musculoskeletal, digestive, etc…and therefore decrease the general stress burden of the body. As a result the body will be more resistant to specific stressors including work-related stressors .
  1. Mental dissociation” starts when people are no longer in touch with their body. This state is common among sedentary office workers, when cerebral functions are over-stimulated to the detriment of somatic functions.  This can result in a lack of conscious acknowledgement of the signals from the multiple receptors in the body and a resulting lack of general awareness. This can affect the quality of the general perception of the employee, and as a result the quality of his decision making by altering his intuition. “Mental dissociation” is a condition which is also shared by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) sufferers, for whom the connection of the individual to his body sensations has been severed as a coping strategy. Therapeutic touch has been widely studied and helps the individual re-integrate their body.
  2. Therapeutic presence, such as unconditional positive attention, and empathic understanding also conveys the intention of the therapist, which is at the heart of the healing process of the client, as studied in clinical psychotherapy.The client’s system benefits from the support of this attentive positive presence to balance itself out.
  3. Hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling are specifically targeted at mental issues, by allowing the invidual to reprogram specific mental patterns deemed conterproductive. The position of the practitioner as an external stakeholder ensures that the problem is addressed outside the confines of the workplace.