There’s only one way to eat an elephant burger, mindfully!

The trick is to take a small positive step.

This week I attended a training course on mindfulness.  Working in the behavioural science sector, I have often read about and studied our current understanding of mental health.  This has often tended to be from a scientific standpoint, reading research and findings and considering statistical analysis.  It was somewhat refreshing to see the same information conveyed in a manner that relates directly to our everyday life.  Everyday life for everybody.

The course was run by a division of the charity Mind and was funded by the company I am currently working for.  They mandated that all their employees attend the training, including their contractors and consultants.

If you have heard the term “mindfulness” or “needs met approach to wellness” and wondered what this is, spend a few moments on the internet to read up on the subject.  An awareness of our own mental health and a toolkit to help us fix things when they aren’t quite right is a useful skill to have.  The course I attended focussed on the wellness continuum and the 12 needs model.  These models basically serve to distil our wellbeing into categories or needs.  Once we divide things up into categories we can better analyse where our needs are being met and where maybe there is a shortfall.  Once we have done this, we can take positive action to correct the balance.  This way we can avoid falling further down the continuum.

This was the main takeaway for me, just do something positive.  If that can be targeted towards a needs deficiency, then all the better.  If we keep this in mind, we are better placed to face adversity and turn situations around.  But what if that positive action turns out to be the wrong action and doesn’t really solve the problem?  Compared to the alternative it is still better.  The alternative is usually to worry, panic or engage in destructive behaviour such as drinking alcohol, eating chocolate or going to bed in the middle of the day.  If your need that is deficient is quality social interaction, join a club.  If that is a karate club and it turns out you don’t really like karate, you haven’t really lost anything. You have met a few new people, learned that karate isn’t for you and you can now join an origami club or whatever makes you happy.  The trick is to take a small positive step.  You may look at your wellbeing and discover that many needs are not being met.  If you try to address them all at once, you are setting yourself up for a fall.  A bit like deciding to decorate every room in the house at the same time.  The result is certain turmoil.  After the turmoil you may end up with a lovely house, but why not do one room at a time?  You end up with the same result and you can flex and adjust your plans as you go.  Addressing your wellbeing is the same.  Choose something, make a small change, if it works, do some more of that.

Sound familiar?  This is somewhat like Plan, Do, Check, Act isn’t it?  Most of us will have seen this business model and used it or something similar.  Well I advocate doing the same for  Treat yourself to some of the logical improvements that you deliver at work.  Check yourself, identify your needs, identify those that are deficient and take some positive steps to address them.

If you are a leader, consider running a course in your workplace.  Not only do you end up with a happier workforce, they will be more productive and more focussed on success.  So it is a no lose situation.  It is one positive step, that can’t really have a negative outcome.

If you would like to know more about mental health and mindfulness contact your local branch of mind or visit the website for more information.


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