APR 30, 2012 @ 09:24 PM
Todd Essig , CONTRIBUTOR
My beat is mental health, mental wealth and making the most of living Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
There’s a new search program at Google, but one without a magic algorithm. This program lets you search inside yourself so you can find, well, yourself. Cleverly titled “Search Inside Yourself,” it’s a free course Google provides employees that is designed to teach emotional intelligence through meditation, a practical real-world meditation you take with you wherever you go. The program was reported in yesterday’s NY Times and described in Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan who also teaches the course. It’s a rock-solid business-friendly mindfulness course in three acts: train your attention, develop self-knowledge and self-mastery, and create useful mental habits (video below).
That Google takes care of the minds of its employees should not surprise. Companies that fly high are learning to take care of their own, and the perks need to be more than free beverages and foosball tables. This is especially true at Google.
Employees coming from fast-paced fields, already accustomed to demanding bosses and long hours, say Google pushes them to produce at a pace even faster than they could have imagined.
Instruction in mindfulness, in being able to reflect rather react, is a genius perk to provide. The article does a nice job reporting how it helps those Googlers lucky enough not to get stuck on the waiting list; more people want to take it when offered than can be accommodated. With effectiveness and popularity in mind there’s a few more things that need to be said.
All Mindfulness is Good Mindfulness
It doesn’t matter where or how you develop mindfulness. Doesn’t matter why. Doesn’t even matter what you do: meditation, yoga, prayer, therapy, gratitude, science-help practices, hiking, painting, exercise, etc. It’s all good.
Any practice or activity that supports reflection over reactivity, encourages feeling feelings rather than acting on them, and opens awareness to what is really going on is of benefit. Slow down, notice, and savor is a great way to build mental wealth no matter where or how. It just is. All mindfulness really is good mindfulness.
Take a Deep Breath When Your Job Sucks
There’s a huge problem with the Google “Search Inside Yourself” path to greater mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Huge. Namely, most people don’t work for Google, or companies like Google. In fact, for many people work is a rather unplesant experience, and if not unpleasant few jobs offer opportunities for transcendence and personal liberation. For many work is just work.
But don’t think mindfulness doesn’t apply. Having a job that kind of sucks, or sucks some of the time, doesn’t mean that mindfulness is not for you. Perhaps the more your job fails to present opportunities for growth and self-expression, the more you need to cultivate mindfulness; perhaps when you’re working 9-to-5 is when you most need the ability to reflect rather than react.
“You have to detach as much from it as a source of stress as humanly possible while putting in enough effort to stay employed. Just because they’re paying you doesn’t mean you have to put your heart and soul into it.”
Well said Caitlin.
You can learn mindfulness meditation in three easy steps:
Concentrate on your breathing.
When your mind wanders passively observe the thoughts, like the clouds in the sky
Re-focus on your breathing
Learning to travel light. I am aware that the mind is already busy when I get up: thoughts, ideas, projections, moving from one thing to another. That’s why in the morning is important to set up you Mind for the rest of the day, create space in order to allow life to happen, to allow life to let it be… and be grateful as a new fresh day has just started.. Continue reading “LEARNING TO TRAVEL LIGHTER”
- To stay focussed for long periods of time with less stress
- To reach decisions based on objectivity without reacting emotionally
- To have better concentration and efficiency when working
- To have a positive impact on productivity
- To handle strong emotions more successfully
- To accept myself and others better in order to lead teams efficiently
- To improve health and wellbeing in your life and at work
Mindfulness is a simple and very powerful practice of training our attention. It’s simple in that it’s really just about paying attention to what’s happening here and now (i.e. sensations, thoughts, and emotions) in a non-judgemental way.
It’s powerful because it can interrupt the habit of getting lost in thoughts, mostly about the future or past, which often generates more stress on top of the real pressures of everyday life.
Over the last 30 years, academic research in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and physical medicine have documented the wide-ranging benefits of learning to meditate, particularly in an 8-week mindfulness course format.
With practice, mindfulness can serve as the perfect antidote to healing stress that can sometimes undermine our health, performance and quality of life, and can provide a sensation of relaxation. Indeed the evidence has shown that it can be an effective aid in the treatment of many mental and physical health issues, as well as generally improving our performance, relationships, and well-being.