Melbourne 001Workplace Wellbeing Institute's Training Programs employ a variety of Mindfulness Practices, Techniques and Skills adapted from world leading experts such as; Dr Dan Siegel, Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn & Dr Martin Seligman.
Mindfulness Practice has been clinically proven to reduce the impacts of Workplace Stress, Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout by improving and enhancing employee levels of Job Satisfaction, Workplace Wellbeing, Workplace Resilience, Workplace Mental Health and Compassion Satisfaction (Davidson, Lutz, 2007; Harvard Health Publications, 2013; Oxford Mindfulness Centre, [OMC] 2013; Paulson, Davidson, Jha & Kabat-Zinn, 2013; Siegel, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013).
Mindfulness-Based Techniques and Programs are know found in the feilds of medicine, psychology, healthcare, neuroscience, business and management, the military, education and schools, age-care, child-care and fitness-training (Albrecht, Albrecht & Cohen, 2012; Meiklejohn et al. 2012). 
 
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been practised for thousands of years and derives from Taoist, Yogic, Buddhist and Zen teachings and trainings (Alexander & Rand, 2009; Black, 2009; Kabat-Zinn, 2003; Hoover, 1980). Hoover (1980) describes Zen Mindfulness as growing out of the fusion of the wisdom of China, India and Japan, particularly the teachings of Lao Tzu, Buddha and Confucius. Western science, medicine, psychology and therapy has had an interest in these Eastern forms of Mindfulness Practice since the 1960s, particuarly since the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a serious application of clinical and health psychology, cognitive therapy and many aspects of neuroscience (Siegel, Germer & Olendzki, 2008; Williams & Kabat-Zinn, 2011). 

 

Shapiro (2009) describes these primarily Eastern introspective traditions as focusing each individual’s awareness, circumspection, discernment and retention to this Present Moment. Dr Daniel Siegel a world leading researcher, clinician and author on the neurobiology of Mindfulness, states that all cultures, religions and philosophies employ mindfulness techniques that focuses one’s attention and awareness (Siegel, 2007). Siegel (2006, 2007, 2012) uses the term Mindsight to describe Mindfulness Practice’s ability to look deep within the human psyche to perceive and reflect on aspects of the mind and its thought process from a non-attached and non-judgmental perspective. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and its Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in 1979, describes Mindfulness as; an open-hearted, moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Kabat-Zinn (2003) adds that this awareness emerges through a purposeful paying of attention, in the unfolding of experience in the present moment.

 

WP1 001Proven Benifits of Mindfulness Practice: Over the last 30-40 years the beneficial effects of using Mindfulness Practice and Techniques in alleviating physical pain and mental distress have been opened to modern scientific scrutiny (OMC, 2013). There are now countless research studies that have identified the positive physical, emotional, mental, psychological, social and relational benefits of having a regular Mindfulness Practice (Siegel, 2006, 2007, 2012). From the clinical and research work of Professor Mark Williams and colleagues at the OMC, a regular Mindfulness Practice has the following proven health and wellbeing benefits (OMC, 2013);

  • Enhanced changes in brain functioning in the areas of decision-making, attention and empathy.
  • Positive impact on emotional and executive regulating functions.
  • Improves people’s job performance, productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Increases blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and protects people at risk of developing hypertension.
  • Reduces the risk and severity of cardiovascular disease, and the risk of dying from it.
  • Long-lasting physical and psychological stress reduction and therefore positive changes in wellbeing.
  • Less likely to experience relapses of depression, anxiety and exhaustion.
  • Better able to manage and regulate compulsive and addictive  behaviours.
wwb economies chartAdditional research (Albrecht, Albrecht & Cohen, 2012; Meiklejohn et al. 2012) has established these additional positive benifits;
  • Improved working memory & attention
  • Enhanced emotional self-regulation
  • Enhanced neuro-endocrinal & immune system functioning
  • Improved adherence to medical treatments
  • Diminished need for medication
  • Altered perception of pain
  • Increased motivation in making lifestyle changes
  • Increased, improved & enriched social connections
  • Increased, improved & enriched interpersonal connections
 
 
References
Albrecht, N. J., Albrecht, P.M., & Cohen, M. (2012). Mindfully teaching in the classroom: A literature review. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(12), 1-14. albrecht_12.pdf
Davidson, R. J., Lutz, A. (2007). Buddha's brain: Neuroplasticity and meditation. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, 174, 175-178.
Harvard Health Publications. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/mindfulness.htm
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past,present, and future. American Psychological Association. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016
Malinowski, P. (2013). Neural mechanisms of attentional control in mindfulness meditation. Frontiers of Neuroscience, 7(8), 1-11. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3563089/pdf/fnins-07-00008.pdf
Meiklejohn, J.,Phillips, C., Freedman, M. L., Griffin, M. L., Biegel, G., Roach, A.. ... Saltzman. A. (2012). Integrating mindfulness training into K-12 education: Fostering the resilience of   teachers and students. Mindfulness, 3(4), 291-307. meiklejohn_12.pdf
Oxford Mindfulness Centre. (2013). About mindfulness. Retrieved from http://oxfordmindfulness.org 
Paulson, S., Davidson, R. J., Jha, A., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Becoming conscious: The science of mindfulness. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1303, 87-104. davidsonzinn13.pdf
Shapiro, S.L. (2009). The integration of mindfulness and psychology. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(6), 555-560.
Siegel, D. J. (2006). An interpersonal neurobiology approach to psychotherapy. Psychiatric Annals, 36(4), 248-256.
Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of wellbeing. New York, NY: WW Norton.
Siegel, D. J. (2012). The developing mind: Relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Siegel, D. J. (2013). About Mindsight. Retrieved from http://drdansiegel.com/about/mindsight/
Siegel, R. D., Germer, C. K., & Olendzki, A. (2008). Mindfulness: What is it? Where does it come from? In F. Didonna (Ed.), Clinical handbook of mindfulness. New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/articles/nicamb_mindfulness.pdf
Williams, J.M. G., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Mindfulness: Diverse perspectives on its meaning, origins, and multiple applications at the intersection of science and dharma. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/14639947.2011.564811