Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

Prayer Reduces Catholic Teacher Burnout

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the most important ways we can take care of ourselves, is by maintaining a consistent prayer life. We have to be willing to recognize God’s role in our life and in our teaching.“ – Rachel Gleeson

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. Teachers experience burnout at high rates. Roughly a half a million teachers out of a workforce of three million, leave the profession each year and the rate is almost double in poor schools compared to affluent schools. Indeed, nearly half of new teachers leave in their first five years.

 

Burnout frequently results from emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion not only affects the teachers personally, but also the students, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Regardless of the reasons for burnout or its immediate presenting consequences, it is a threat to schools and their students. In fact, it is a threat to the entire educational systems as it contributes to the shortage of teachers. Hence, preventing burnout has to be a priority.

 

Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in treating and preventing burnout.

Prayer can be a mindfulness meditation practice. It is possible that Prayer, like mindfulness, can reduce teacher burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Chirico and colleagues recruited Catholic school teachers and randomly assigned them to a no treatment control condition or to receive training 30-minute, twice a week for 2 months in a combination of prayer and meditative adoration of the divine. They were measured before the treatment and 4 months later for job satisfaction, psychological well-being, and burnout, including emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the control condition that the group that received training in prayer had significantly higher levels of job satisfaction and psychological well-being, and significantly lower levels of burnout, including both emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. These effects had moderate to large effect sizes.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that prayer, like other mindfulness practices, is effective in promoting well-being and reducing job burnout. The mechanisms by which this occurs were not investigated but mindfulness is known to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This may, in turn, make the individual more resilient and better able to withstand the difficulties encountered in the classroom.

 

So, reduces catholic teacher burnout with prayer.

 

spiritual intelligence plays an important role in work environment.” – Ravie Mirshavi

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Chirico F, Sharma M, Zaffina S and Magnavita N (2020) Spirituality and Prayer on Teacher Stress and Burnout in an Italian Cohort: A Pilot, Before-After Controlled Study. Front. Psychol. 10:2933. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933

 

Introduction: Teaching is a stressful profession that exposes workers to the risk of burnout. Techniques involving higher mental functions, such as transcendental meditation and prayer, have been used in stress and burnout prevention programs. In this study, we report the results of an experience conducted in a group of teachers of a religious institute, in which prayer was used as a technique to prevent burnout.

Methods: Fifty teachers and support staff employed at a Catholic school of a Congregation of nuns volunteered for this study. They were randomized into two groups: prayer treatment (n = 25) or control group (n = 25). The treatment protocol was based on the combination of individual Christian prayer and a focus group of prayer-reflection. The participants received two 30 min training sessions a week over 2 months. Job satisfaction, well-being, and burnout symptoms (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization sub-scales) were measured at baseline and at follow-up (4 months) with the Italian versions of the Maslach Burnout Inventory validated for teaching and education sector, the General Health Questionnaire, and the Warr, Cook, and Wall’s Job Satisfaction Scale.

Results: At follow-up, a significant improvement of all outcome measures was observed. Emotional exhaustion (16.80–4.92, p < 0.001), depersonalization (3.72–0.60, p < 0.001) levels, and psychological impairment (10.08–2.04, p < 0.001) were significantly decreased, and job satisfaction (45.96–77.00, p < 0.001) was increased. The effect sizes (Glass’ Δ) of the therapeutic interventions ranged from 0.53 (satisfaction level) to 2.87 (psychological health), suggesting moderate to large effects.

Discussion: Prayer could be effective, no less than meditation and other spiritual or mind-body techniques, in contrasting the negative effects of occupational stress and preventing burnout among teachers and possibly other human service professionals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02933/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness

Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mindfulness exerts its positive effect on work engagement by increasing positive affect, hope, and optimism, which on their own and in combination enhance work engagement.” – Peter Malinowski

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. It seems reasonable that mindfulness would be associated with greater engagement in work.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A), Liu and colleagues recruited employees of service companies and had them complete questionnaires at 3 different occasions. First, they completed measures of mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement. Three months later they completed measures of team mindfulness and recovery level. Three months later they completed a measure of work engagement. Recovery is the degree to which the individual recovers from stress or boredom.

 

They found significant relationships such that the higher the level of individual mindfulness the higher the levels of team mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement, and the higher the levels of recovery the higher the levels of work engagement. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that mindfulness was directly related to higher levels of work engagement. Mindfulness was also indirectly related with work engagement via recovery such that mindfulness was related to higher levels of recovery which was in turn related to higher levels of work engagement.

 

The study did not manipulate mindfulness or recovery, so causation cannot be absolutely determined. But the results suggest an important role for mindfulness in the workplace. Work engagement is important for employee performance. Hence, the present results suggest that mindfulness is important for this performance. It is so by being directly related and also by being related to recovery which then is related to work engagement.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This would allow for rapid recovery from the stress. Mindfulness appears to promote the ability to bounce back from stress and boredom and that this skill facilitates engagement in work. This suggests that that a mindful employee is a less stressed, better employee.

 

So, improved work engagement is associated with mindfulness.

 

Better employee engagement is only one of the benefits of practicing mindfulness in the workplace. The additional advantages you can expect from it are the following: Better employee retention: Workers are less inclined to look for another job as mindfulness helps lower their emotional exhaustion at work. Better health of employees results in lower incidences of absences and healthcare costs. Better productivity¾because employees are happier and healthier!” –  Cheryl Chandola

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Liu S, Xin H, Shen L, He J and Liu J (2020) The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement. Front. Psychol. 10:2928. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928

 

Mindfulness metacognitive practice that can be performed in the workplace. Drawing on the theory of conservation of resources, we test a moderated mediating model of how and when employee mindfulness has a positive effect on work engagement. Via analysis of data from 311 employees from 83 teams at different times, this study investigates the relationship between employee mindfulness and work engagement as well as the moderating effect of team mindfulness and the mediating effect of recovery level. The results from this multi-wave field study show that the mindfulness of the individual employee has a positive influence on work engagement and that recovery level plays a mediating role. Team mindfulness positively moderates the relationship between individual mindfulness and work engagement. This conclusion may bridge the relationship between mindfulness and work engagement theory.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1232595_69_Psycho_20200204_arts_A

 

Decrease Presenteeism at Work with Mindfulness

Decrease Presenteeism at Work with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Up until recently businesses worried about absenteeism – employees calling in sick when they’re not, just to get out of work for the day. Following a push from employers to reduce the level of absenteeism, the pendulum has swung the other way and we’re now more likely than ever to attend work when we’re really not up to the job – this is known as presenteeism. A study in the USA found employees take an average of four days off sick each year. It was also found that these same employees were still in work but underperforming due to their health for as many as 57.5 days a year.” – AXA

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

One of the consequences of this stress is presenteeism. This involves coming to work even when sick or injured. It results in decreased productivity, increased errors, and potentially spreading illnesses to coworkers. It has been estimated that presenteeism costs employers $250 billion dollars each year. To address these problems, businesses have incorporated meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress and burnout. Indeed, Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce presenteeism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are mindfulness and self-efficacy related to presenteeism among primary medical staff: A cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6608653/), Tang and colleagues recruited primary medical personnel with at least one year of experience. They were measured for presenteeism, mindfulness, and self-efficacy.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of self-efficacy and the lower the levels of presenteeism and the higher the levels of self-efficacy the lower the levels of presenteeism. Performing a mediation analysis, they found that the negative relationship between mindfulness and presenteeism was completely mediated by self-efficacy. In other words, mindfulness did not have a direct relationship with presenteeism but rather mindfulness was associated with higher self-efficacy which was then associated with lower presenteeism.

 

Self-efficacy is the confidence that the individual can exert control over one’s behavior and environment. It is well documented that mindfulness increases self-efficacy. Hence, the results suggest that mindfulness increases this confidence allowing the individual to better deal with the stresses of the environment and act adaptively. Staying home when one is sick is adaptive, improving recovery and preventing spread of disease. People with high self-efficacy appear to be better able to respond in this manner and resist the temptation to respond to pressures and go to work when ill.

 

The study was correlational and restricted to medical personnel in China. It remains for future research to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training to reduce presenteeism in more varied populations of individuals.

 

So, decrease presenteeism at work with mindfulness.

 

Greater self-care may alternatively be regarded in light of a more effective use of personal resources which may eventually prevent presenteeism, which is more prevalent in higher-paid staff. – Silke Rupprecht

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tang, N., Han, L., Yang, P., Zhao, Y., & Zhang, H. (2019). Are mindfulness and self-efficacy related to presenteeism among primary medical staff: A cross-sectional study. International journal of nursing sciences, 6(2), 182–186. doi:10.1016/j.ijnss.2019.03.004

 

Abstract

Objectives

In ensuring public welfare with primary medical and health services, the primary medical staff faces new tasks. Increasing workload, and therefore degrees of stress and burnout, can influence job satisfaction and lead to presenteeism, which is defined as the appearance to be on the job but not actually working. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current working situation and the relationship between presenteeism and mindfulness of primary medical staff and determine the mediating effect of self-efficacy on this relationship.

Method

A cross-sectional survey was performed with 580 primary medical staff from 9 hospitals in Shaanxi province, northwest China. Presenteeism, mindfulness, and self-efficacy were measured by using a general information questionnaire, the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the General Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Stanford Presenteeism Scale. Mediating effect was analyzed by a series of hierarchical multiple regressions.

Results

A high level of presenteeism was found among 47.4% of the study participants. Presenteeism was negatively correlated with mindfulness (r = −0.409, P < 0.001) and self-efficacy (r = −0.678, P < 0.001). A positive correlation was found between mindfulness and self-efficacy (r = 0.584, P < 0.001). When controlling for self-efficacy (β = −0.018, P > 0.05), the association was insignificant between presenteeism and mindfulness.

Conclusion

The results identified the effect of mindfulness on presenteeism of primary medical staff is realized through self-efficacy,which also suggested to enhance self-efficacy on center location when developing management strategies for mental health education or training among primary medical staff.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6608653/

 

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

Have Higher Job Satisfaction with Cancer Survivors with Spirituality

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Although addressing spiritual concerns is often considered an end-of-life issue, such concerns may arise at any time after diagnosis. Acknowledging the importance of these concerns and addressing them, even briefly, at diagnosis may facilitate better adjustment throughout the course of treatment and create a context for richer dialogue later in the illness.” – National Cancer Institute

 

Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. It is estimated that 15 million adults and children with a history of cancer are alive in the United States today. Cancer survivors are often challenged with a wide range of residual issues including chronic pain, sleep disturbance, sexual problems, loss of appetite, and chronic fatigue. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions. Hence there is a need to identify safe and effective treatments for the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that can persist for years after diagnosis and treatment.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including fatiguestress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. In addition, religion and spirituality become much more important to people when they’re diagnosed with cancer or when living with cancer. It is thought that people take comfort in the spiritual when facing mortality. Hence, spirituality may be a useful tool for the survivors of cancer to cope with their illness. A very important issue for cancer survivors is returning to work. Thus, there is a need to study the relationships of spirituality to cancer survivors’ ability to adjust to their work situations.

 

In today’s Research News article “.” The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6846173/), Jin and Lee recruited cancer survivors who had returned to work for at least 6 months following treatment. They completed measures of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality.

 

They found that the higher the levels of spirituality in the cancer survivors, the lower the reported levels of job stress and the higher the reported levels of job satisfaction. They also noted that higher the levels of job stress were associated with lower levels of job satisfaction. In addition, a mediation analysis revealed that the negative relationship of job stress with job satisfaction was in part mediated by spirituality, such that high levels of job stress was directly negatively related to job satisfaction and was also related indirectly by being associated with lower levels of spirituality which were, in turn, related to lower levels of job satisfaction.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But it can be speculated that for cancer survivors stress on the job is detrimental to satisfaction with the job and that being spiritual helps to buffer the influence of stress on satisfaction. Hence, being spiritual may help cancer survivors to better weather stress effects and thus be happier with their work. This may assist the survivors in overcoming some of the residual problems and being better able to return to their occupations.

 

So, have higher job satisfaction with cancer survivors with spirituality/

 

“Spirituality and religion can be important to the well-being of people who have cancer, enabling them to better cope with the disease. Spirituality and religion may help patients and families find deeper meaning and experience a sense of personal growth during cancer treatment, while living with cancer, and as a cancer survivor.” – National Comprehensive Cancer Network

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Jin JH, Lee EJ. The Mediating Effect of Workplace Spirituality on the Relation between Job Stress and Job Satisfaction of Cancer Survivors Returning to Work. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 20;16(19):3510. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16193510. PMID: 31547142; PMCID: PMC6801382.

 

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction as well as the level of job stress, job satisfaction, and workplace spirituality of cancer survivors returning to work. A total of 126 cancer survivors who returned to work more than six months prior to the research participated in this study. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling; they were visiting the outpatient clinic at two general hospitals located in a metropolitan city and their clinical stage was stage 0 or stage 1. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS 22.0. Job stress, workplace spirituality, and job satisfaction had a negative correlation, whereas workplace spirituality and job satisfaction had a positive correlation. The Sobel test was performed to verify the significance of the mediating effect size of workplace adaptation, the results confirmed a partial mediating effect of workplace spirituality on the relation between job stress and job satisfaction (Z = –4.72, p < 0.001). This study confirmed the mediating effect of workplace spirituality in the relation between job stress and job satisfaction. A systematic program needs to be developed to enhance workplace spirituality, a spiritual approach, to relieve job stress and increase job satisfaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801382/

 

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If your workforce deals with stress, emotional health issues, or low morale, you’ll likely benefit from implementing a meditation program. Meditation programs have a lot of amazing health and wellness benefits that will have a positive impact on your employees.” – Robyn Whalen

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress and burnout. The research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/), Hilton and colleagues reviewed and summarized published systematic reviews of the research on mindfulness training in the workplace and its effects on employee health and well-being. They identified 175 reviews that focused on health care workers, caregivers, educators, and general workplace workers.

 

They report that the reviews demonstrated that mindfulness-based interventions were effective in treating chronic conditions producing relief of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Mindfulness was found to produce small decreases in chronic pain but significant improvements in pain-related quality of life. Mindfulness training was found to reduce substance abuse and help prevent relapse, reduce negative emotions, anxiety, depression, somatization, irritable bowel syndrome, and stress effects. Mindfulness training also was effective in cancer care, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, and improving sleep and quality of life. for support of caregivers.

 

These findings are remarkable. The wide range of positive benefits on physical and mental health are breathtaking. To this authors knowledge there is no other treatment that has such broad application and effectiveness. This suggests that workplace mindfulness training is safe and highly effective and should be implemented throughout the workplace.

 

So, improve workplace wellness with mindful meditation.

 

The ancient art of meditation has many benefits, especially in the workplace. Studies have shown that meditation practiced in the workplace has a direct impact on increased productivity, creativity, focus, and the overall happiness of employees.” – The Lotus

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hilton, L. G., Marshall, N. J., Motala, A., Taylor, S. L., Miake-Lye, I. M., Baxi, S., … Hempel, S. (2019). Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map. Work (Reading, Mass.), 63(2), 205–218. doi:10.3233/WOR-192922

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mindfulness interventions aim to foster greater attention and awareness of present moment experiences. Uptake of mindfulness programs in the workplace has grown as organizations look to support employee health, wellbeing, and performance.

OBJECTIVE:

In support of evidence-based decision making in workplace contexts, we created an evidence map summarizing physical and mental health, cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes from systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mindfulness interventions.

METHODS:

We searched nine electronic databases to July 2017, dually-screened all reviews, and consulted topic experts to identify systematic reviews on mindfulness interventions. The distribution of evidence is presented as an evidence map in a bubble plot.

RESULTS:

In total, 175 systematic reviews met inclusion criteria. Reviews included a variety of mindfulness-based interventions. The largest review included 109 randomized controlled trials. The majority of these addressed general health, psychological conditions, chronic illness, pain, and substance use. Twenty-six systematic reviews assessed studies conducted in workplace settings and with healthcare professionals, educators, and caregivers. The evidence map shows the prevalence of research by the primary area of focus. An outline of promising applications of mindfulness interventions is included.

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence map provides an overview of existing mindfulness research. It shows the body of available evidence to inform policy and organizational decision-making supporting employee wellbeing in work contexts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/

 

Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

Build Better Leaders with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

for leaders, the biggest benefit of mindfulness is its direct impact on the development of emotional intelligence.” – Monica Thakrar

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. There has been, however, little research attention to the effects of mindfulness on leadership.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A), Rupprecht and colleagues recruited leaders in work environments who had completed a 12-week Workplace Mindfulness Training program 6 months to a year previously. They were questioned about their perceptions of the effectiveness of the program on themselves and their leadership with semi-structured interviews over the phone lasting about an hour. Responses were transcribed and subjected to qualitative thematic analysis.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them in mindfully managing tasks including focusing on single tasks, managing distractions particularly phone messages, and using breaks and transitions to meditate of become aware of their bodies. The training also helped them with caring for themselves including recognizing when they were tired and taking a break and sharing their feelings and state with others. It also helped them self-reflect and recognize how their state affects the people around them.

 

The leaders’ responses indicated that the training helped them become better leaders. It provided skills in relating to others, including deep listening, being less reactive to their ow emotions or emotions of others, being less judgmental, taking themselves less seriously, and being more responsive to the needs of their followers. The training also helped them to better adapt to changing situations, including acceptance of the changes and adaptively searching for solutions.

 

Finally, the leaders’ responses indicated that the effects that the training had on them spilled over to affect the organization and the processes used at work. It provided them with a new basis for communications with other team members. They began to include mindfulness practices in team meetings. This led to identification of long meeting as problematic and changing the structure of meetings.

 

These results are subjective and there weren’t any objective measures supplied to verify the reports. But the leaders’ responses were very encouraging and suggested that the Workplace Mindfulness Training program is very beneficial and affects a wide variety of work behaviors and attitudes. Although there were no measures of productivity changes, the nature of the effects of mindfulness training suggest that productivity would improve, burnout would be reduced, and work satisfaction would increase.

 

So, build better leaders with mindfulness.

 

“To become a mindful leader, you need to make this a daily introspective act. As you do so, you’ll worry less about day-to-day problems and focus on what is most important. As you become more mindful, you will be a more effective, successful and fulfilled leader.” – Bill George

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rupprecht S, Falke P, Kohls N, Tamdjidi C, Wittmann M and Kersemaekers W (2019) Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities. Front. Psychol. 10:1081. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081

 

Mindfulness training is a novel method of leader development but contrary to its rising popularity, there is a scarcity of research investigating how mindfulness training may affect leader capabilities. To gain a better understanding of the potential of a new research field, qualitative research is advantageous. We sought to understand how senior leaders experience the impact of mindfulness training in their work lives and leadership ability. The sample comprised 13 leaders (n = 11 male) working in six organizations that completed a 10-week workplace mindfulness training (WMT). We conducted semi-structured interviews 6 to 12 months following course completion. We analyzed the data following thematic analysis steps and based on these findings, we devised a framework of the perceived impact of mindfulness training on self-leadership and leadership capabilities. We show that WMT exhibited impact on three self-leadership capacities: mindful task management, self-care and self-reflection and two leadership capacities: relating to others and adapting to change. Participants’ recounts additionally suggested effects may expand to the level of the team and the organization. We show that WMT may be a promising tool for self-directed leadership development and outline avenues for future research.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01081/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_999212_69_Psycho_20190528_arts_A

 

Shift Work Increases Stress, Psychopathology, and Family Conflict and Less Mindful Parenting

Shift Work Increases Stress, Psychopathology, and Family Conflict and Less Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When you work at night, you’re cut off from friends and family, you have little social support, your diet may not be as healthy.” – David Ballard

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. Our work situation can have profound effects on the family and child rearing practices.

 

It has been shown that low workload and high sleep quality are important to high levels of mindfulness during work which, in turn leads to many benefits for the job and the employee. Keeping workload at a reasonable level should improve both sleep quality and mindfulness which should, in turn, promote better work. It should also promote better family life and more mindful parenting. But there is actually very little systematic research on the effects of the work environment and schedule on the individual’s family life and mindfulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Work-Family Conflict and Mindful Parenting: The Mediating Role of Parental Psychopathology Symptoms and Parenting Stress in a Sample of Portuguese Employed Parents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A), Moreira and colleagues recruited parents of children of any age up to 19 years online and had them complete an online questionnaire measuring type of employment, work schedule, hours worked per week, work-family conflict, anxiety, depression, parenting stress, and mindful parenting, including subscales of listening with full attention, compassion for the child,  non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning, self-regulation in parenting, and emotional awareness of the child.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindful parenting, including each of the 5 subscales, the lower the levels of work-family conflict, anxiety, depression, and parenting stress. They also found that parents with a shift work schedule and also parents working full-time had significantly higher levels of work-family conflict. On the other hand, parents with flexible schedules had significantly higher levels of mindful parenting. In addition, path modelling revealed that higher levels of work-family conflict were indirectly associated with lower levels of mindful parenting through anxiety and depression symptoms and parenting stress. In other words, work-family conflict heightened anxiety and depression symptoms and parenting stress which in turn lowered mindful parenting.

 

These results are interesting but correlational, so no definitive conclusions regarding causation can be reached. But the results suggest that work scheduling has a large association with the mental health of the parents and as a result with mindful parenting. Shift-work is associated with greater parental mental health issues and lower mindful parenting while flexible work schedules have the opposite effect, being associated with better parental mental health and better mindful parenting.

 

There is a need in future research to manipulate work scheduling to observe its causal impact. But tentatively, the current research suggests that companies should investigate the implementation of more flexible work schedules for their employees. The improvement of their mental health and the consequent improvement of family life would likely make the employees, healthier, happier, and more productive and loyal to their employer. In addition, the improved mindful parenting would likely improve the well-being of the children.

 

We leave decisions about flexibility and the organization of work to individual companies, which means that the decisions of first-line managers in large part create our national family policy.”- Fran Sussner Rogers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Moreira H, Fonseca A, Caiado B and Canavarro MC (2019) Work-Family Conflict and Mindful Parenting: The Mediating Role of Parental Psychopathology Symptoms and Parenting Stress in a Sample of Portuguese Employed Parents. Front. Psychol. 10:635. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635

 

Aims: The aims of the current study are to examine whether parents’ work-family conflict, emotional distress (anxiety/depressive symptoms and parenting stress) and mindful parenting vary according to the type of employment (full-time, part-time, and occasional), the type of work schedule (fixed, flexible, and shift), and the number of working hours per week and to explore whether parental emotional distress mediates the association between work-family conflict and mindful parenting dimensions.

Methods: A sample of 335 employed parents (86.3% mothers) of children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 19 years old completed a sociodemographic form and measures of work-family conflict, anxiety/depression symptoms, parenting stress, and mindful parenting. The differences in study variables among types of employment, work schedules and number of weekly working hours were analyzed. A path model was tested through structural equation modeling in AMOS to explore the indirect effect of work-family conflict on mindful parenting dimensions through anxiety, depression and parenting stress. The invariance of the path model across children’s age groups (toddlers, preschool and grade school children, and adolescents) and parents’ gender was also examined.

Results: Parents with a shift work schedule, working full-time and 40 h or more per week, presented significantly higher levels of work-family conflict than those with a fixed or flexible schedule, working part-time and less than 40 h per week, respectively. Parents with a flexible work schedule presented significantly higher levels of self-regulation in parenting and of non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning than parents with a shift work schedule. Higher levels of work-family conflict were associated with lower levels of mindful parenting dimensions through higher levels of anxiety/depression symptoms and parenting stress. The model was invariant across children’s age groups and parents’ gender.

Discussion: Work-family conflict is associated with poorer parental mental health and with less mindful parenting. Workplaces should implement family-friendly policies (e.g., flexible work arrangements) that help parents successfully balance the competing responsibilities and demands of their work and family roles. These policies could have a critical impact on the mental health of parents and, consequently, on their parental practices.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A

 

Improve the Effect of the Match of Leader Follower Optimism with Mindfulness

Improve the Effect of the Match of Leader Follower Optimism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful leadership can alter the tone of the work environment in subtle and overt ways, making it a potential agent of positive change in organizations.” – Erika Garms

 

Most organizations are hierarchical. Groups of individuals are directed by a leader and groups of leaders are directed by another leader, etc. The leader sets the goals and strategy and directs the followers in the pursuit of these goals. In order for the leader to be effective the followers must execute his/her directives. This is best accomplished when the leader and follower both believe in the strategy.  Little is known, however regarding the factors that influence the sharing of optimism that the strategy will be effective.

 

Mindfulness has been shown to influence the mental health of workers and improve their work engagement and satisfaction with work as well as preventing the burnout of leaders. It is possible that one of the effects of mindfulness that mediates its influence on work engagement is by working to align the strategic optimism of the leader and followers.

 

In today’s Research News article “) Mindfulness – The Missing Link in the Relationship Between Leader–Follower Strategic Optimism (Mis)match and Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02444/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_847629_69_Psycho_20181211_arts_A ), Bunjak and colleagues recruited adult full-time employees online and had them complete an online questionnaire. They measured strategic optimism of leaders with questions like “He/she goes into these situations expecting the worst, even though he/she knows he/she will probably do OK” and followers with questions like “I go into these situations expecting the worst, even though I know I will probably do OK.” They also measured mindfulness, how long the leader and follower worked together, and work engagement.

 

They found that the higher the level of the followers’ mindfulness the greater was their level of work engagement and the lower the levels of strategic optimism both by the leader and the follower. Hence mindfulness appears to be associated with better engagement in work but less optimism that the strategies employed will work. Additionally, they measured the degree to which the leaders’ and the followers’ strategic optimism matched; either both high or both low. They found that the greater the match of the leaders’ and the followers’ strategic optimism the greater the work engagement and that this effect was mediated by mindfulness. In addition, they found that when there was a match in strategic optimism it was associated with higher mindfulness levels which, in turn, was associated with greater work engagement.

 

These are interesting results but they are correlational, so no conclusions about causation are warranted. But, nevertheless, they suggest that the more the leaders and the followers are on the same page regarding the probable success of the strategy the more they’re engaged on working on the project and this appear to be mediated by mindfulness. It is also interesting that with high degrees of mindfulness there is less optimism about the success of the work strategy. This may suggest that the more accurate and perceptive the individual is of the realities of the situation the less they believe in the eventual success of the projects goal. Mindfulness may simply make them more realistic. But that realism also is associated with greater engagement in the work itself. Mindfulness itself may make for greater engagement in the present moment activities, work engagement.

 

So, improve the effect of the match of leader follower optimism with mindfulness.

 

Large companies, such as Google, Aetna and General Mills, have been implementing large-scale mindfulness programs over the past few years. Thousands of employees have gone through their programs with data now showing that there is a definite impact on leadership skills by practicing mindfulness, such as: Increase in productivity, Increase in decision-making, Increase in listening, and Reduction in stress levels.” Monica Thakrar

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Bunjak A and Černe M (2018) Mindfulness – The Missing Link in the Relationship Between Leader–Follower Strategic Optimism (Mis)match and Work Engagement. Front. Psychol.9:2444. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02444

 

Assuming a followership perspective and building on implicit leadership theory, this study examines the mediating role of followers’ mindfulness in the relationship between leader–follower strategic optimism (mis)match and work engagement. Specifically, we propose that a discrepancy between the respective levels of leaders’ and followers’ strategic optimism correlates with low levels of mindfulness and work engagement. A field study of 291 working professionals, using polynomial regression and response surface analysis, supports the (mis)match hypotheses. The results demonstrate that followers’ mindfulness mediates the relationship between leaders’ and followers’ matching levels of strategic optimism (whether at high-high and low-low leader-follower strategic optimism conditions) and work engagement. These findings have important implications for training and the extent to which interventions based on personal resources, such as strategic optimism and therefore mindfulness, foster higher work engagement.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02444/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_847629_69_Psycho_20181211_arts_A

 

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in a Workplace with Mindfulness

Reduce Stress and Improve Well-Being in a Workplace with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Becoming aware of what’s going on around you can make a huge difference, because we spend so much time wrapped up in our thoughts that we lose contact with the real world. That’s especially the case if you’re constantly bombarded by email, Facebook posts and Twitter. It’s not really conducive to a calm and productive work environment.“ – Danny Penman

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress and burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “A mindfulness training program based on brief practices (M-PBI) to reduce stress in the workplace: a randomised controlled pilot study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6060839/ ), Arredondo and colleagues recruited stressed employees and randomly assigned them to either be in a wait-list control group or to receive an 8-week mindfulness training program. The training occurred once a week for 1.5 hours and included daily practices. The participants were measured before and after training and 20 weeks later for mindfulness, perceived stress, self-compassion, decentering, burnout, and heart rate variability.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group the mindfulness trained group had significant decreases in perceived stress and the components of burnout of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment, and significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and decentering. These differences were enduring as they were still significant at the 20-week follow-up. They also found an increase in heart rate variability indicative of reduced stress.

 

These results are very encouraging and suggest that mindfulness training can be very beneficial in reducing workplace stress levels and burnout. It also appears to improve the overall psychological well-being of the employees improving mindfulness, self-compassion, and decentering. The ability of mindfulness training to reduce stress and burnout, and to increase self-compassion and decentering have been previously observed with different participant population. The study would have been stronger had an active control group been included. But, nevertheless the findings are suggestive that mindfulness training can be quite beneficial for stressed employees.

 

So, reduce stress and improve well-being in a workplace with mindfulness.

 

“Toxic emotions disrupt the workplace, and mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns, helping you recognize them before they run rampant. It’s a way of reprogramming your mind to think in healthier, less stressful, ways.” –  Drew Hansen

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Arredondo, M., Sabaté, M., Valveny, N., Langa, M., Dosantos, R., Moreno, J., & Botella, L. (2017). A mindfulness training program based on brief practices (M-PBI) to reduce stress in the workplace: a randomised controlled pilot study. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 23(1), 40–51. http://doi.org/10.1080/10773525.2017.1386607

 

Abstract

Work stress is a major contributor to absenteeism and reduced work productivity. A randomised and controlled study in employee-volunteers (with Perceived Stress Scale [PSS-14]>22) was performed to assess a mindfulness program based on brief integrated mindfulness practices (M-PBI) with the aim of reducing stress in the workplace. The PSS-14 of the employees before and after 8-weeks M-PBI program, as well as after a 20-week follow-up, was assessed (primary endpoint). The employees also carried the following questionnaires (secondary endpoints): Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), Experiences Questionnaire-Decentering (EQ-D), and Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS). Heart Rate Variability (HRV) was measured during each session in a subgroup of employees (n = 10) of the interventional group randomly selected. A total of 40 employees (77.5% female median [SD] age of 36.6 [5.6] years) took part in this study: 21 and 19 in the intervention and control group, respectively. No differences in baseline characteristics were encountered between the groups. Results show a significant decrease in stress and increase in mindfulness over time in the intervention group (PSS-14 and FFMQ; p < 0.05 both). Additionally, an improvement in decentering (EQ-D), self-compassion (SCS) and burnout (MBI-GS) were also observed compared to the control group (p < 0.05 in all). HRV measurement also showed an improvement. In conclusion, a brief practices, 8-weeks M-BIP program is an effective tool to quickly reduce stress and improve well-being in a workplace.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6060839/

 

Mindful Labor Day

Image result for labor day pictures

Mindful Labor Day

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

 “Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold.  But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”  ~ Douglas Pagels

 

Labor Day is a National Holiday in the United States. It was designed to celebrate the accomplishments of the American worker, particularly organized labor. It is important to celebrate this holiday mindfully. Work is a major component of our lives, it dictates our income, contributes to our social lives, and for many people is an essential part of their self-concept and their self-worth. But rather than using the holiday to reflect on this important part of their lives, most people treat Labor Day mindlessly, as a time to vacation and party. Perhaps, though, it’s important to take at least a little time on this holiday to mindfully reflect on work.

 

To understand the importance of work we need only look at the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. Two of the eight components are Right Actions and Right Livelihood. But, Right Livelihood is itself an action and it would seem that Right Livelihood should be contained in Right Actions and not a separate component. But, the Buddha included Right Livelihood as a separate component to underscore its importance for spiritual development. It’s his way of emphasizing that what one does for a living is an extremely important action. The Buddha taught that it was essential for spiritual development to only engage in work that produces greater happiness, wisdom, and well-being, and relieves suffering in ourselves and others and avoid jobs that produce harm.

 

We should take a mindful look at our occupations on Labor Day and ask whether they promote greater happiness, wisdom, and well-being, and relieves suffering or produces harm. In some case, the fact that it is Right Livelihood is obvious as with professions such as physician, social worker, peace negotiator, relief worker, therapist, etc. On the other hand, professions such as drug dealer, arms merchant, professional criminal, etc. are clearly not. But for most occupations it is much more difficult to discern whether or not they constitute Right Livelihood. This is a point for deep, mindful, exploration for Labor Day.

 

Working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico produces a product, energy, that is needed for the well-being of virtually everyone. Without affordable energy, every aspect of the economy would collapse. So, working on the oil rig could be seen as promoting well-being and relieving suffering. On the other hand, there is potential for great environmental harm, including oil spills that directly pollute sensitive environments, or contributing to carbon dioxide emissions that can indirectly create great harm by contributing to global warming. So should someone on the eightfold path accept or reject a job working on an oil rig? The answer cannot be given by anyone other than the individual themselves. It is imperative that this be looked at deeply and objectively to determine for themselves if they are doing more harm than good. The primary spiritual impact of Right Livelihood is on the individual engaging in the occupation. So, the decision has to be theirs. That is not to say that experts or friends can’t or shouldn’t be consulted, but that ultimately the individual must decide for themselves and be willing to accept the potential consequences. Needless to say, this should be a focus for deep mindful reflection on Labor Day.

 

The labor movement itself has important consequences for ourselves and others and should also be explored mindfully on Labor Day. It grew out of great labor abuses that existed where unscrupulous employers took advantage of workers, demanding much and paying little. This is an example how great harm can be produced when the wealthy and powerful, as a result of greed, do not practice Right Livelihood. The Buddha taught that there was nothing wrong with being successful and accumulating wealth provided that this was done ethically and honestly, and it promoted the overall well-being of the community. But, for a time, this was not the case. This underscores how the notion of Right Livelihood doesn’t only apply to workers, but also to employers, financiers, Wall Street executives, politicians, etc.

 

The labor movement arose to counteract the rampant abuses of workers. By organizing the workers obtained strength in numbers. This allowed them to stand up to employers and demand better pay and working conditions. It truly exemplifies our interdependence. We are not alone, but rather, are intricately connected to everyone else. This is true for work in general. It is a productive point for mindful contemplation of how our work and in fact, our entire lives are connected to the work of others. If we’re a truck driver we’re totally dependent upon the people who make the trucks, produce the fuel, build the roads, insures, maintains, and repairs the vehicles, makes and enforces the laws governing the roadways, etc. But, we are also dependent upon the work or those who produce our food, make our clothes, build our houses, educate our children, defend and protect us, etc. Our work is interdependent with the work of everyone else. This is an important point for reflection on Labor Day.

 

I recently received an award for my work career. It was a wonderful boost for my ego and made me feel very good about myself. But, with a little mindful reflection, I realized that this was not my award solely. It could never have been achieved without the involvement of a vast array of people, colleagues, students, friends, family superiors, workers, direct reports, police, government, etc. and all of the people who they are dependent upon, and so forth. It couldn’t have been achieved without virtually everyone. It was really an award for a cooperative effort. This kind of thinking made me humble. It made me know that it was not about “I.” Rather, it’s about “we.” Mindful reflection about our work can help us to see the interconnectedness we have with every other living thing.

 

A major issue for Labor Day reflection is what happens in the course of our daily work. We can learn much about ourselves by mindfully examining what transpires at work. What happens can bring us great joy or great suffering, but most of the time, it just provides momentary satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It is the smaller moments that compose the majority of our work lives but they are crucial to our happiness or unhappiness at work. Applying mindfulness and reflection to how we react and our thoughts regarding the events at work, we can gain great insight into the workings of our minds and how they can produce unsatisfactoriness and unhappiness.

 

The fact that your boss failed to mention that your performance was very good that day may make you feel unappreciated at work. But, it is likely that your boss was preoccupied with her own problems. But, looking carefully at your thought process you can begin to see how your response was based on the needs of your own ego. Many people’s feelings of self-worth, or self-hatred for that matter, are built around their work. Not being recognized by a superior may threaten a fragile self-image and produce discomfort and resentment. Work is actually a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself.

 

You may observe a coworker engaged in petty theft and not report it. Looking deeply at this event you may be able to see that you have a strong need to be liked and you feel that reporting the unethical behavior may cause others to dislike you or see you as a threat. In this case your need for social acceptance causes you to compromise your integrity. The fact that social approval was more important to you than ethics can be a revelation regarding your inner psychological landscape. Once again, work can teach you a lot.

 

There are actually many many events that happen at work every day, small and large, that reveal the workings of your mind and emotions. Applying mindfulness, noticing and being aware of your reactions and actions at work can change your ideas about yourself and change your actions at work and these can lead to greater understanding and acceptance. This, in turn, can lead to greater satisfaction and happiness. Mindfulness is a key. If you are not in the present moment, if you are not paying attention but rather reacting without thinking or noticing, if your mind is wandering and off task, then this splendid opportunity will be lost. So, vow to be mindful at work and become better and happier with the way you make your living.

 

So, on this Labor Day, vow to be mindful and take advantage of the opportunities provided at work to learn about yourself. Grow as a person and grow spiritually by making every work day a mindful work day.

 

“When people say, “This is the way to do it,” that’s not true. There are always many ways, and the way you choose should depend on the current context. You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. So when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.” – Ellen Langer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch