Mindfulness is a fast growing practice; the Dali lama speaks about it, your yoga teachers speak about it so what is it and why is it so important?
Also do you have to be an alternative, hippy to practice and live by mindfulness principles?
Let’s explore what Mindfulness based practice is all about and why I coach from this space?
Mindfulness for the everyday person is a highly valuable skill as it creates psychological flexibility. Those who are psychologically flexible are more likely to handle stress better and show a higher level of Emotional Intelligence.
Sounds like a superhero ability doesn’t it?
What is psychological flexibility you ask?
Kashdan & Rotterburg (2010) define psychological flexibility as “the measure of how a person: (1) adapts to fluctuating situational demands, (2) reconfigures mental resources, (3) shifts perspective, and (4) balances competing desires, needs, and life domains. Thus, rather than focusing on specific content (within a person), definitions of psychological flexibility have to incorporate repeated transactions between people and their environmental contexts.”
Psychological flexibility is the ability for a person to act, behave and think from a position of emotional and physical intelligence. As a human being you adapt to changing circumstances and demands and manage stressful situations well. A person usually adapts to change quickly and will communicate strongly about one’s own feelings and thoughts. Consider it as a developed self-awareness or as a client once told me “you appear as if you are an old soul”.
In order to develop psychological flexibility, Acceptance and Commitment Training is an effective framework to use to develop this within one’s self.
Acceptance and Commitment therapy also known as ACT, “ACT is a behaviour therapy that is mainly focused on increasing psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is a competence that includes two mutually dependent processes: acceptance of experiences and value-based behavior” (zettle, 2015)
ACT is scientifically proven and used within both corporate and medical practices.
Mindfulness as stated by Russ Harris, 2008 “is a mental state of awareness, focus and openness – which allows you to engage fully in what you are doing at any moment”
Within the ACT framework there are 3 stages of mindfulness that are used
1) Defusion: distancing from, and letting go of, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and memories
2) Acceptance: making room for painful feelings, urges and sensations, and allowing them to come and go without a struggle
3) Contact with the present moment: engaging fully with your here-and-now experience, with an attitude of openness and curiosity
Through this process you are able to develop your ability to take control of both your mind and physical being.
Coaching works within this framework teaching you essential skills in how to apply and the ongoing management of act in all Leadership situations.
Why use Act within the workplace:
- Reduce work-related emotional distress (Bond and Bunce 2000)
- Increase productivity (Bond and Bunce 2000)
- Increase innovation (Bond and Bunce 2000)
- Increase transformational leadership behaviours (Bond 2011)
- Improve team leadership leading to increased organisational commitment and profit (Bond 2011)
- Reduce unplanned absences from work for employees with chronic health problems (Dahl, Wilson et al. 2004)
- Increase the application of new learning to the job (Varra, Hayes et al. 2008)
- Increase job satisfaction (Bond and Bunce 2003)
- Increase the benefit of job redesign (Bond, Flaxman et al. 2008)
- Increase motivation (Keogh, Bond et al. 2006)
- Improve performance (Keogh, Bond et al. 2006) (Bond and Bunce 2003)
- Increase resilience (Flaxman and Bond 2010)
(Rachel Collins, 2013)
Some Great resources on ACT:
Defining Mindfulness: An interesting article on mindfulness by Steve Hayes