Tag Archives: mindfulness

Mindful May- Create A Resilient Workplace

Mindful May is approaching fast. Have you made plans yet?

This May we are committed to building mentally healthy, resilient workplaces throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria. Join Engage Health as we deliver a 4 Week Psychological Resilience program in your workplace.

Course Overview

This 4- week program will teach employees practical tools and techniques for stress reduction, emotional regulation and psychological resilience. With themes and evidence-based practices from our signature eight week attention training program, participants will learn effective strategies for improved mental health, coping with stress, remaining composed during times of difficulty and how to be fully present in their work and home life.

*One workshop will be held each week in May at your office/site. Each workshop is approximately one hour in duration.

Week 1

Introduction to Attention Training

  • What is mindfulness?
  • Creating a self-awareness.
  • Using the breath as an anchor to calm the mind.
  • Minimising internal distractions.

Week 2

Neuroplasticity & Habits

  • The science behind attention training and mindful practice.
  • Hard-wiring happiness. (The brain that changes itself).
  • The importance of pleasant awareness, positivity and gratitude.

Week 3

The Stress Response

  • Learning to self-regulate and reduce reactivity.
  • Understanding the role of the amygdala.
  • Identifying early warning signs of stress, anxiety and mental illness.
  • Neurobiology of emotions.

Week 4

Self-Care & Resilience Tools

  • Outsmarting the stress response.
  • Eliciting the relaxation response.
  • Dealing with stress & difficult emotions/ pain/ sensations.
  • Mindful eating

Booking are now open for all organisations. Please email sally.cumming@engagehealth.com.au or call 0401358309 for more information.

Eliciting the Relaxation Response to Reduce Stress

 

Employees are constantly “on”. There is very little escape from the constantly frantic 24/7 world. The result can be burnout – both physically and mentally. Long term activation of our sympathetic nervous system (or ‘fight, flight, freeze’ stress response) can be detrimental to our health. This sympathetic drive can take its toll on the body causing adrenal fatigue, systemic inflammation in the body and chronic disease. Sympathetic overdrive for employees can manifest itself as lack of energy, increased conflict, lack of job satisfaction, poor morale, decreased ability to handle stress, a compromised immune system and memory lapses.

Challenges and difficulties in the workplace cannot be avoided, but we can build our resilience to them. A successful way to build resilience in the workplace is to teach employees the skills and tools they need to identify and maintain healthy levels of stress and self-regulate in order to quickly recover from challenging situations when they arise. Teaching staff how to anchor themselves amidst the pull of turbulence in their lives helps them build the capacity to accept, tolerate and transform painful mind and body states without reacting so intensely to them.

Through combined mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapy practices, employees can learn how to elicit the relaxation response. This is a key component of our programs, not only for reducing stress, but also for reducing blood pressure, pain, tension and muscle tightness. Suppression of the sympathetic nervous system and physiological stress response is very effective in improving focus, productivity, digestion, increasing energy levels, and improving flexibility, blood flow and circulation.

Here is an example outline of our 4 Week Stress Resilience Program.

*Each workshop will be approximately 1-1.15 hours in duration.

Week 1

Introduction to Attention Training

  • What is mindfulness?
  • Awareness- how to create self-awareness.
  • Using the breath as an anchor to calm the mind.
  • Minimising internal distractions.

Week 2

Neuroplasticity & Habits

  • The brain & the science behind mindfulness practice.
  • Hard-wiring happiness.
  • The importance of pleasant awareness, kindness, positivity and gratitude.

Week 3

The Stress Response

  • Learning how to self-regulate and reduce reactivity.
  • Understanding the role of the amygdala.
  • Identifying early warning signs of stress & anxiety.
  • Neurobiology of emotions.

Week 4

Self-Care & Resilience Tools

  • Outsmarting the stress response.
  • Eliciting the relaxation response.
  • Dealing with difficult emotions/ pain/ sensations.

Bookings are available now for 2019. Please contact Engage Health for further information http://www.engagehealth.com.au/contact-us/

Neuroplasticity Training For Safety & Resilience

 

  • Can we rewire our brain to improve focus and awareness?
  • And in doing so what impact can this have on injuries and safety outcomes?
  • What are some ways we can practice mindfulness to boost resilience and workplace mental health?

 

In this episode of the FitForWork Podcast I chat with Sally McMahon about the benefits of rewiring our brain to improve our focus, awareness and psychological resilience. Here is the link to the the episode if you missed it. http://fitforworkaustralia.com.au/040-neuroplasticity-training-for-safety-and-resilience-sally-cumming.

Key takeaways from the episode:

  • Mindfulness research is robust not fluff: The benefits of mindfulness training attention are well researched and it makes for a compelling case for organisations to invest in programs that teach employees the tools for greater self-awareness and self-regulation.
  • Mindfulness improves leadership to supports harmonious workplace relationships: We know that if employees learn to train attention and concentration they are more focused, calmer, have greater clarity, make better decisions and can self- regulate more effectively. This is also key to effective leadership and effective communication.
  • Mindfulness is simply a way of living and a way of being: The art of embracing being a human BEING not a human DOING. The art of noticing when our mind is distracted and bringing it back to the present as the only moment we really have is the now moment. The key with mindfulness practice is non-judgmental awareness. This helps us have greater composure and balance through life’s turbulence and ups and downs – both inside and outside of the workplace.

The Fit for Work Podcast is the place to be if you’re a health, safety or HR professional and leader wanting to take YOUR workplace from GOOD to GREAT. The Fit for Work Podcast will serve you up a weekly FEAST of thought leadership, business resources and real-world examples of what’s working and not working in workplaces. Eavesdrop on conversations with professionals in the Workplace Health, Safety and Leadership spaces along with researchers, educators and front-line staff from both white and blue collar, private and public workplaces. Learn the latest trends and practical tools to boost health, happiness, safety, engagement and productivity in your workplace. Be part of the solution in taking your workplace from good to GREAT!

The New Integrative Approach For Improving Mental Health & Resilience in the Workplace

As an organisation we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve staff wellness, reduce psychological distress and prevent injuries. We have set ourselves ambitious targets to increase the number of Victorians reporting high levels of resilience, and of course the workplace is a key setting for this.

We needed to find an effective formula that produced beneficial results for staff, as well as tangible business outcomes.

Creating a program that was embedded within a context of both Mind/Body and Integrative Medicine, was the winning formula. We combined themes from both our corporate mindfulness program, ‘Wise’, as well as our injury prevention program, ‘Engage’, to create the ‘Wise Worker’ program. For the first time in my career I was inspired to create a program that could draw on both qualifications as an exercise physiologist and a mindfulness practitioner. Teaching evidence-based injury prevention practices as well as well-researched mindfulness interventions meant we could achieve the holistic results we were looking for.

Over the last few months we trialled this exciting new program at the Department of Health and Human Services with the Disability Support Carers. Eight houses were selected throughout Victoria and we have now completed all eight departments. We are absolutely thrilled with the results, the testimonials and the self-reported feedback. The core purpose of the program was to inspire staff members to create personal health goals to see how good they could feel in four weeks. The goal setting and individual health screening was a key component that led to the cultivation of positive health behaviours.

Over the course of four weeks participants were taught how to integrate and apply mindfulness into their everyday lives, as well as how they can protect themselves from pain and injuries at home and at work.

Through combined mindfulness training and body awareness practices, staff learnt how to illicit the relaxation response. This was a key component of the program, not only for reducing injury risk but also for reducing pain, tension and muscle tightness. Suppression of the sympathetic nervous system and physiological stress response was also effective in improving digestion, increasing energy levels, and improving flexibility, blood flow and circulation. Mindful movement and guided injury prevention exercises were tailored specifically to assist in the prevention of wear and tear injuries due to postural dysfunction. Staff were encouraged to perform manual handling tasks with mindful awareness so they could slow down and perform the tasks correctly with proper posture and ergonomic equipment.

Disability support workers have a difficult and constant role. Work in helping professions can be incredibly rewarding, but also very challenging. Usually there is a focus on looking after others before themselves. For many support workers the idea of self-regulation and self-nourishment is a new concept, so this was a vital component of the program. Through mindfulness and breath work, staff were able to bring some calmness, clarity and appreciation back into their day. Teaching staff how to anchor themselves amidst the pull of turbulence in their lives helps them build the capacity to accept, tolerate and transform painful mind and body states without reacting so intensely to them.

When our body and our mind are working efficiently we feel great. Mood and workplace morale is improved and performance is enhanced. Educating staff using this combined approach to both mind and body training is one that we are pleased to say has been incredibly effective. We look forward to continuing this exciting new work with other professions in the near future.

Mindfulness for Schools

Introducing WISE Teacher: Psychological Resilience Training for all Victorian teachers and “Overcoming Stress & Anxiety” training for Year 10-12 students.

 

We are delighted to have commenced facilitation of our WISE Teacher professional development training in schools. This is the first stress resilience program of its kind to become available for staff in the Education sector. Drawing on perspectives from science and themes from our eight week Wise mindfulness program, teachers learn evidence-based tools and practices they can integrate into the classroom. The original Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, developed at the University of Massachusetts in 1979, has been well-researched and has appeared in over 2000 medical journals. Research suggests the mindfulness-based interventions in the MBSR program alleviate a wide range of physical and psychological difficulties such as stress, anxiety, depression, aggression, high blood pressure and insomnia.

The workshop provides an enjoyable and in-depth exploration into mindfulness practice and stress physiology where teachers can learn effective MBSR tools for stress management, emotional regulation and psychological resilience. It has been designed to help teachers cope with the stress of everyday life and inspire them to create mentally healthy, mindful workplaces.

Alarming statistics show in each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness. Of even greater concern is the increasing number of students experiencing mental illness. 1 in 7 Australian children and adolescents aged 4-17 have mental health or behavioural problems. Mindfulness and attention training develops the ability to purposefully direct attention and behaviour. This correlates with greater resilience and ability to bounce back and persevere in the midst of stressful situations. It has been shown to foster emotional intelligence, gratitude, positivity and self-esteem which gives kids a head start for life. A little mindfulness goes a long way, even in adults, but the earlier teachers can introduce the practice of mindfulness to their students, the better.

From development of understanding on the principles of mindfulness a variety of applications can be made for both teaching practice but also occupational health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is an internal process, a particular way of relating to one’s experience. To communicate this successfully to students, teachers need to embody this process themselves. The term ’embodiment’ essentially describes how this interior work of mindfulness practice is implicitly reflected in the teacher’s presence and behaviour, which in turn influences the atmosphere of the classroom.

Work-related stress has a negative impact on teachers that is wide-ranging. As well as psychological health problems, stress has been associated with impaired performance, reduced productivity, physical illness, high staff turnover and sickness absence. Learning resilience and self-regulation skills are invaluable for staff in the teaching profession for not only managing stress but also for effective student management, dealing with high workload and other organisational demands. Without the appropriate understanding, tools and mechanisms in place, individuals are at an increased risk of exhaustion, burnout and mental illness.

Workshop Benefits:

Teachers who participate in this workshop benefit from: 

  • Improved self- awareness, self-management and self-regulation
  • Less habitual reactivity
  • Heightened emotional intelligence
  • Improved sense of wellbeing, happiness and job satisfaction
  • Improved leadership and communication skills
  • Improved relationships, ability to listen more attentively and be present with their students
  • Increased confidence teaching mindfulness exercises in the classroom
  • More effective student management

Noticeable improvements in students who practice mindfulness include:

  • Improved cognitive function- greater focus, concentration, memory, learning ability and creativity.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Better behaviour and grades.
  • Improved attention and attendance.
  • Better habits.
  • Increased positivity, optimism and mood.
  • Improved immune function.
  • Reduced risk of mental illness and poor mental health.

For more information please visit the website or contact us at info@engagehealth.com.au.