I just have to share this great TED Talk by psychologist, Shawn Achor.
He says everything, (very fast), that I have read, learned and now believe to be true about the relationship between happiness and business. These ideas are central to the work we do with business, organizations and individuals.
I’d add that what we add to his equation, is mindfulness and focus or attention training, as the bedrock on which happiness can be built. Studies show that mind-wandering, a lack of focus is associated with depression and unhappiness. And of course, those things are not associated with success in business or in our personal lives.
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Mindful Movement Class at Marsh Insurance Brokers and Risk Management. It was very windy but sunny and so wonderful! Thanks so much for inviting us to your offices.
The equation is very simple really. Mindfulness helps us remain in the present moment, intentionally and non-judgmentally. This in turn allows us to be happier, more flexible, accepting of what comes. Happy people have higher IQs, are more creative and energetic.
It’s no mystery that those people are going to be outstanding employees and are going to help your company thrive.
There’s quantifiable, proven science to back this up. The annual losses to American companies each year are staggering; over five billion dollars. But, as Aetna C.E.O., Mark Bertolini found, that can be turned around. In fact, with only about a third of Aetna’s employees taking part in their companies free access to yoga and mediation, the company saved enough to give its lowest paid workers a 33% raise just from the money saved in getting back lost work time, about 62 minutes per week, which regained the company about $3000-$3500 per employee per year. Levels of negative stress and pain went down 19-28 percent. And so, workers have more to be happy about than their raises.
Want to make these kinds of changes at your company? We can help.
In fact though, when we’re supposed to be focused on what someone else is saying, our minds can be very busy with all kinds of thoughts. We may be lost in the past, projecting into the future, worrying about what we’ll say next, concerned about what action we might take next and how that will be perceived, and what about our reputations?
When We Onto All These Worries, We Hear Nothing
Sharon Salzberg, in her book, Real Happiness at Work,says, “In order to improve communication, we must learn to be mindful of what would best achieve the goals of both parties. Listening to understand without agreeing or disagreeing can show you how open you are to someone’s ideas – and how open they can be to yours.
Two Tips for More Mindful Listening
1. As you begin engage with someone in conversation at work, whether one-on-one or in a group, sit and allow your hands to relax and just rest somewhere comfortably. Really focus on the feeling of relaxing the palms of the hands, then the fingers, completely. Then attune your listening to the person speaking. When the hands are relaxed it’s nearly impossible to be tense and closed. AS the body opens, so does the listening heart and mind.
2. If you know you have a meeting or conversation coming up, make a commitment to yourself to listen more than you talk. Allow pauses to arise between verbal exchanges. In those pauses, is great wisdom. Let the words of the other sink in. Give yourself permission to take your time to reflect on your common goals and what you might want to hear in return if you were the person speaking.
We all want to succeed in our business. And, we want to be happy at work and feel a sense of balance between work and our personal lives. (After all, we do spend more time at work, then just about anywhere! It can kind of take over, if we’re not careful.) Sometimes we may do a lot of running around, feeling very busy but maybe not being so productive. Feeling fragmented mentally, emotionally can lead to feeling quite stressed. When we feel stressed, we can’t think straight, or be creative, happy or balanced.
Good News: Our Stress Has an Off Switch
Anderson Cooper of 60 Minutes discovered that he was incredibly stressed but that through learning various forms of mindfulness practice he could learn to focus his mind and relax the grip all that tension and pressure had on him. He actually went without his cell phone or internet connection for an entire weekend and didn’t die. What he discovered changed his life! What I love best of all about this, is that he went in totallyskeptical. He thought it sounded crazy to have all this silence! Eating, sitting and walking silently? Oh yes.
We just learn to pay attention, on purpose, to the present moment without any judgement. And that, as Robert Frost would have it, “has made all the difference.” And this kind of training can make all the difference for you at work and at home.
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We can help your team, your whole company, create more presence, balance and happiness with proven methods of applied practical mindfulness that will leave every feeling better and your company performing better.