Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Improving wellbeing with mindfulness in the workplace

group of people indoors

Improving wellbeing with mindfulness in the workplace

21 March 2018

Andy Hix, from the Wellbeing Capital Partners, recently came to our Islington service to deliver a six week course on mindfulness and wellbeing in the workplace. After receiving some fantastic feedback from the service, we caught up with Andy to learn more about mindfulness and wellbeing.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying attention to the here and now, as opposed to being lost in thoughts about the future or the past. It also means having an attitude of kindness, openness and curiosity.

What are the benefits?

Practising mindfulness helps you to be calmer and more focused, which means you do everything better - getting work done, conversation, sport, music, reading, it improves your relationships, including with people you find really difficult. It can help you switch off from work and get to sleep at night. It’s also the best tool I’ve come across for developing self-awareness - allowing you to understand and therefore take control of your thoughts and feelings.

Why is mindfulness important in the workplace?

I strongly believe that the success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.

How can you be effective at work if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or angry? How can you help someone else if you’re struggling yourself? As they say on the aeroplane, you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.

MIndfulness is a way of developing a more consistently positive mental state, and when you do feel negative, it helps you get back to feeling positive again more quickly.

Furthermore, we live and work in an age of distraction. It’s never been harder to get work done and most of us having become frantic multi-taskers thanks to email and social media. Mindfulness helps you find strategies to deal with that so that you can focus and get the job done.

What did you cover in the course for CGL Islington?

We covered a bit of evolutionary psychology to explain how we’re designed to be dissatisfied and always craving after more things that will make it more likely that we will pass our genes onto the next generation: food, sex and social status. We learnt how mindfulness can help you to circumvent those impulses so that you feel calmer and more content.

We learnt tools to improve concentration, listen more effectively, overcome stress and anxiety, improve your relationships and to create positive daily habits that improve increase your wellbeing.

How was the feedback from the course?

Very positive. We did an exercise in the first week to collect people’s hopes and aspirations for what they wanted to get out of it, and by the end they’d pretty much all been met!

List of intentions for wellbeing courseWhat people said they got out of the course:

  1. Happier, more content with my life
  2. Believing I can improve my life and others
  3. Sleeping better
  4. Greater focus
  5. Being more relaxed/Calmer
  6. Self control - not reacting on impulse in a negative way
  7. Better listening
  8. Seeing more positive things during the day
  9. Stopping myself ruminating
  10. Less chaotic, anxious feelings

How can someone learn mindfulness?

I teach mindfulness in the workplace and 121, so people can get in touch with me directly (andy@wbcp.co.uk).

There’s a great app called Headspace that offers guided meditations, but it’s hard to sustain the habit by yourself. (If you are CGL staff, you can access this app for free! More information here)

If you’re based in London I recommend the North London Buddhist Centre, The London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green and The West London Buddhist Centre.