Is Mindfulness changing Politics?

Houses of ParliamentMindfulness is really catching on the UK – even at government level. Last week I found myself in the Houses of Parliament, at a “round table” meeting on the future of Mindfulness in the workplace.

We heard evidence, case studies and success stories from Cranfield University, CaptialOne, GlaxoSmithKline and others. I was particularly pleased to hear about the ongoing successes at Transport for London – they’ve been using mindfulness for some years, and they’re seeing a 50% reduction in stress-related absence.

But my favourite story was from Lord Stone of Blackheath (aren’t English names wonderful?), a previous managing director of Mark’s and Spencer. He described the difference Mindfulness can make in political debate. After learning Mindfulness together, some of the heat comes out of the conflict and aggression. There’s a bit more fellow feeling, and collaboration becomes a bit more possible.

The changes may be slight – but even in the ruthless world of politics, Mindfulness is making a difference.

Leaving The Office On Time

fireworks for a busy day

November 5th – here in the UK it’s “Bonfire Night,” an evening of festivity and fireworks. So lots of us will be thinking, “How can I get away from the office on time, even though there’s too much to do?” One option is to simply try and cram it all in. But today is also […] more...

How can 3 breaths make such a difference?

Man stretching and breathing deeply in forest

The simplest and quickest way I know to get a bit of relief from stress goes like this: Take 3 deep breaths. Each time, breathe in deeply (without forcing it), then breathe out slowly and smoothly. How can this be so effective? Well, it’s having a direct effect on two parts of the brain Share […] more...

Burnout – back from the brink

Business man in handcuffs - manager in manette -

Stewart had been pushing himself for years – achieving great results, but at a price. He’d got used to being stressed, but now something very strange was happening. He felt like he’d gone into a vague cloudy world in which nothing really mattered. He’d completely lost his edge. Then he came for coaching – just […] more...

How Niklas resolved a 2 year deadlock in 5 minutes

Niklas in Meeting

As CEO of an IT consultancy, Niklas knows how crucial security is to his customers. Yet there was one potential issue he and his team had been grappling with for over 2 years. Despite 20 or 30 attempts, they hadn’t even been able to define the problem. Then he changed tack, and within 5 minutes […] more...

Double (or halve) People’s Creativity

mouse maze and cheese 100px

When you’re leading, the way you communicate can make a huge difference to people’s creativity. In one mode, they can be twice as creative as the other. How so? Fleeing an Owl or Seeking out Cheese? In an experiment at the University of Maryland (Friedman & Forster 2001), students were asked to solve a simple puzzle. […] more...

Why cavemen didn’t need mindfulness

Caveman getting in touch with technology

The human brain evolved in stressful conditions – avoiding Sabre-Tooth Tigers, hunting just to eat, and lots of hard physical graft. And yet it’s now, in times of great luxury and abundance, that we need mindfulness. What’s going on? Well, our brains evolved some fantastic mechanisms to handle those tough conditions: A fight/flight system to […] more...

Don’t Forget to Thank Your Mind

Sunset on Coldhams Common

I was just out for a walk on the common. I’ve been working hard all week on a big project, and I’ve still got lots more to do. I was rather hoping to enjoy the sunset. But my mind had other ideas – it kept on thinking about the project. I kept saying “no” to those […] more...

The “Negativity Bias” – and how to overcome it

Theatrical masks

Human brains have a built in “negativity bias” – the brain pays more attention to bad news than good news. How come? Well, it’s a brilliant mechanism for survival situations. If the good news is that this food tastes great, and the bad news is an approaching tiger, you really shouldn’t dwell on the food! […] more...