In the latest episode of ‘My Pocket Psych’, I’m joined by mindfulness researcher, Sarah Strohmaier, for a fresh look at mindfulness. We look at the evidence for mindfulness as a wellbeing intervention at work and how its popularity has been a bit of a double-edged sword.
Merely mentioning the word in some groups can elicit groans and eye-rolling – believe me, I know! I think some of this in rooted in the way mindulness has been introduced in some workplaces and the miracle-like qualities attributed to it.
Here’s the thing: mindfulness isn’t a panacea. While there’s plenty of evidence supporting its use to deal with anxiety and stress, it doesn’t do much for a toxic work environment, working for a micro-manager or unsafe working conditions.
(If this sounds like a familiar line of critique, it’s probably because we covered it in episode 83 of the podcast, where Dr. Kevin Teoh and I shared our frustrations at superficial workplace wellbeing events).
Mindfulness definitely has its place in the wellbeing (and productivity) toolkit. It just can’t be the only tool at our disposal. The great news is that (as Sarah’s research demonstrates) we don’t need to dedicate hours of each day to mindfulness practice to reap the rewards. We can build ‘mindful moments’ in our everyday lives, pausing to notice. No special equipment is needed, no long hours sitting in an awkward or uncomfortable position.
Starting with a focus on your breath as you sit is a great place to experience mindfulness. You can of course use an app to guide your experience, or join a formal course. But sitting quietly, bringing your attention to your breath is really all it takes to get started. Inserting some regular moments of stillness and noticing might be just what you need to see what a mindful approach can do for you.
If you’re interested in learning even more about mindfulness, join us for our live Q&A session with Sarah Strohmaier on April 28th. It’s completely free to attend, though you will need to register at WorkLifePsych.club, our online community. Which is also free, so really – you have no excuse!