What Is Mindfulness Training?
Mindfulness is the state of being internally and externally attentive and aware of the present moment (Ruedy & Schweitzer, 2010). The concept of mindfulness originates from Buddhist tradition; however, most religions have a mindful aspect to prayer and reflection that give one a chance to shift thoughts from usual preoccupations to an appreciation of the current moment (Harvard Health, n.d.). Some practices involved with mindfulness that you can teach to your staff via an easy learning management system (LMS) are observing thoughts, sensory information, and emotions impartially; urge surfing; and meditation (Harvard Health, n.d.). Urge surfing involves observing cravings as they enter your consciousness and replacing those desires with the knowledge that the craving will not last. Meditation involves sitting silently and focusing on your breathing and a word, or mantra, that you repeat in your mind. Mindfulness training online is cost efficient and is shown to have many health benefits (Harvard Health, n.d.).
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness Training Courses for my Staff?
- It reduces stress, chronic pain, and lowers blood pressure. This may result in employees that are less hostile toward one another and more satisfied with their jobs (Harvard Health, n.d.).
- It improves sleep which, in turn, improves job performance (Harvard Health, n.d.).
- Mindfulness enables greater engagement in current work activities with colleagues (Harvard Health, n.d.).
- It promotes more ethical business decisions and intentions by increasing self-awareness (Ruedy & Schweitzer, 2010).
How Can I Implement Workplace Mindfulness Trainings?
- Incorporate a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program into your institution’s trainings (Ruedy & Schweitzer, 2010). MBSR is typically an 8- to 10-week course with weekly in-person meetings. In an MBSR program, it is recommended to practice mindfulness techniques at home for 45 minutes each day. MBSR trainings focus heavily on teaching meditation practices. This involves the instructor directing trainees to focus on their breathing as a way to observe the present moment. If the trainee’s mind wanders, the instructor explains how he or she can simply be aware of thoughts—assigning them the label “thought”—and then return to focusing one’s attention on his or her breathing pattern (Ruedy & Schweitzer, 2010). MBSR can be implemented as an in-person training with mindfulness tips and an assessment of learning outcomes conducted via an online learning management system. These mindfulness training online tests are easy to administer to staff and remind them to complete the 45-minute meditation “homework” to optimize the results of the training.
- Incorporate some mindfulness practices if your organization cannot afford to bring in someone to lead an in-person MBSR program. For example, introduce deep breathing exercises for a few minutes at the beginning of meetings (Miller, n.d.). This will immediately reduce workers’ heart rates and stress levels, helping them to relax and be more productive in the meeting. Also, listen to employees about what they might want to do or get out of mindfulness training online activities. Establishing clear goals and tweaking exercises to meet the needs of your employees will optimize the results of the training and promote greater utilization of mindfulness practices (Miller, n.d.).
- Deliver mindfulness training online resources easily with an LMS platform. This option is more affordable than an in-person training. An online mindfulness training course can allow you to send staff role-modeling videos of mindfulness techniques or can allow you to lead a virtual class if your LMS platform has a live video integration. You can also easily include multimedia content and infographics seamlessly into your mindfulness training course that enables you to clearly illustrate a mindfulness technique, such as a deep breathing exercise, in an easy-to-learn format. After taking the mindfulness training online, staff can take quick tests to assess their learning outcomes, ensuring that they comprehend the material delivered via the online training platform.
Challenges of Integrating a Mindfulness Program & How to Overcome These Challenges
- For programs to be effective, they take time and patience (Oxford Mindfulness Centre, 2016). Some organizations may consider investing in some mindfulness training materials as a seemingly quick fix to enhance worker productivity instead of trying to figure out and address the sole cause of worker dissatisfaction. Overcome this challenge by encouraging worker feedback from the mindfulness trainings. These mindfulness trainings may increase workers’ awareness of organizational issues and may reveal root problems that can then be discussed with the workforce (Oxford Mindfulness Centre, 2016).
- Not all workers will be engaged in the mindfulness trainings. Therefore, costly in-person trainings may not be worthwhile for the entire organization. To overcome this challenge, mindfulness trainings can be made optional. This way, employees that sign up to participate in the in-person sessions will be motivated and more likely to practice mindfulness at home, and will get the most out of the trainings. Reducing the number of employees in the in-person training class should reduce the overall cost of the training program.
- Another challenge may be that it is difficult for everybody to be present to attend all in-person training sessions. Missing course sessions is often detrimental to learning outcomes. One way to combat this is by offering the mindfulness training online via an online training software, or LMS platform. This is beneficial because staff can access the training on their lunch break or at home, and mindfulness training courses do not need to be conducted during work hours. Additionally, LMS platforms these days can be accessed via any mobile device, which allows users to take the trainings anywhere, anytime, when they find a quiet moment to focus on their online mindfulness course.
Harvard Health. (n.d.). Benefits of mindfulness. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/benefits-of-mindfulness.htm
Miller, J. V. (n.d.). Mindfulness at work. Training Magazine. Retrieved from https://trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/mindfulness-work
Oxford Mindfulness Centre. (2016, November). Mindfulness in the workplace. Is it effective and what are the challenges? Retrieved from http://oxfordmindfulness.org/news/mindfulness-workplace-effective-challenges/
Ruedy, N. E., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2010). In the moment: The effect of mindfulness on ethical decision making. Journal of Business Ethics, 95, 73–87. doi:10.1007/sl0551-011-0796-y