A mindfulness boost:
Happiness + Productivity

Mindfulness and productivity

Stress is common in this COVID-19 pandemic but manageable. Even the fortunate individuals who never contract the virus or experience financial setbacks can experience the pervasive stress surrounding them. Recognizing stress can help an individual manage it. Its impact on wellness, emotions, and productivity can be reduced.[1]

Mindfulness and productivity

A highly stressed state can interfere with the rational thinking done within our brain’s prefrontal cortex. Fortunately, calm and productivity may be just a few breaths away.[2] Changes in the rhythm of breathing can signal relaxation by stimulating the vagus nerve. That nerve, running from brainstem to abdomen, governs “rest and digest” activities that restore calm. When no longer captive to emotion, we can focus our awareness on what is present and within reach. That focus is mindfulness.[3]

Mindful moments are a natural state. One glance at a clock reveals the current time. A shiny object on the sidewalk catches our attention: it’s a dime. We savor the first sip of coffee. Each of those moments is a real-time experience.[3] Through mindfulness practice we can recognize stress and return focus to all that is present and in real-time. That is where our accomplishments occur.

Our mind can direct attention to many places. At any moment, we can reflect, brood, plan, dream, or remember. At times, those mental states are valuable. Other times, they become painful distractions. Mindfulness gives us control over when and how long we remain in those mental states. Awareness favors appropriate response over automatic reaction.

Mindfulness practice does not make perfect. Mindfulness practice brings greater and more frequent awareness of thoughts that otherwise would sweep our attention into the future. It also can limit our rumination of past issues and errors. We return to calm and productivity. Here. Now.

The practice

Even brief mindfulness practice can yield greater awareness, empowerment, and enjoyment.[4] If we only bring out the silk cushion and saffron robes on special occasions, a meditation practice can be done many ways, just about anywhere. It might only take a minute or two.

  • Sitting meditation

    Meditation practice often begins with a deep breath, then returns to regular unforced breathing and closing the eyes. For as briefly as a minute the practice focuses on awareness of breathing in, breathing out, or any sensation such as the weight of your feet on the floor or sounds in the room around you.

    As you breathe, your mind may bring all sorts of messages that redirect your attention. A mental movie may take you into past regrets or future fears. No points are deducted for those detours. You may even fall asleep, especially if you haven’t been sitting up. Even after that, guilt feelings would themselves be a detour. Instead, the prescribed action is to gently return focus to breathing in, breathing out. That’s the practice.

  • Walking meditation

    A calm and quiet place is ideal for walking meditation. If no wooded path or babbling brook is nearby, an early morning walk on suburban sidewalks should be adequate.

    As you walk at an unhurried pace, turn your attention toward sensations of standing and the subtle movements of keeping your balance. Over the next several minutes, ideas and images will occur. Be aware of the type of thought – whether a daydream, a worry, or a memory. As you label whatever caused your attention to wander, let it go and return focus to every small sensation of walking and keeping balance.

    As I am so often warned, “Watch out for that tree!”

  • Body scan

    This meditation practice, done comfortably lying back, brings deliberate focus to each part of the body. A common starting place as at the toes of either foot or both feet at once.

    Relax your muscles but bring your attention from one part of your body to the next. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body. When distractions occur or focus is lost, simply return to the place from where attention wandered, and continue from there.

Resources for beginning

Websites
  • THE FREE MINDFULNESS PROJECT

    The mindfulness exercises at this website[5] are free to download. About 30 of them are guided meditations of three to ten minutes. Self-guided audio tracks of 5, 10, and 20 minutes are also provided.

  • FOUNDATION FOR A MINDFUL SOCIETY

    Sponsored by the publishers of Mindful magazine, this website[6] features a blog with free guided meditations. Paid online courses and magazine subscriptions are also offered.

  • VERYWELL MIND

    Among the more than 4,000 mental health and self-improvement articles, several dozen at this site[7] explore the health benefits of meditation and stress management.

  • PALOUSE MINDFULNESS

    This eight-week online course[8], Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction uses an extensive online library of videos, readings, and practice sheets. People who complete all eight weeks may claim a certificate by submitting their practice sheets along with a one-page description of their learnings. The course, online media, and certificate are all free.

  • UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE (NHS)

    The NHS website[9] includes detailed descriptions of mindfulness, its value, and ways its practice can be done.

  Smartphone apps

More than 2,000 new meditation apps have been published in recent years. This is a small sampling of those that feature guided meditations. They are available through iOS and Android app stores. Along with free content, most offer upgrades to premium content.[10]

  • 10% HAPPIER

    The app’s free seven-day course explains the basics of mindfulness meditation and previews the high-quality teaching videos and guided meditations. An array of similar lessons and courses are available by subscription.[11]

  • INSIGHT TIMER

    More than 60,000 guided meditations and music tracks may be accessed free through this app. Premium features, including complete mindfulness courses are available by annual subscription.[12]

  • THE MINDFULNESS APP

    Leading off with a five-day introductory course, this app provides guided and silent meditations, ranging from three to 30 minutes. A premium subscription opens access to additional courses and hundreds of guided meditations.[13]

  • SMILING MIND

    The hundreds of meditations in this app are organized into categories, each with sessions that are five to 15 minutes long. The Mindful Foundations category includes 42 sessions. Another 41 sessions focus on the Workplace. All of the content is free, with no upgrades or subscription to purchase.[14]

  • STOP, BREATHE & THINK

    This app provides options for setting the length of a meditation session and choosing between a male or female voice. Many of the free sessions feature introductory concepts like breathing techniques, body scanning, and self-forgiveness. Progress can be tracked by logging common emotions experienced before and after meditation and viewing those notes over time.

    Longer versions of the free meditations, plus dozens of additional meditations, yoga, and acupressure teachings are available through annual subscription.[15]

  • UCLA MINDFUL

    The Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) developed this app, which features meditations in English and Spanish. Some meditations are introductory, and others could benefit people who suffer from challenging health conditions.[16]

Mindfulness isn’t a way to reject or resolve pandemic concerns. It simply extends our ability to experience and to participate in the here and now. That doesn’t negate our option to travel into the future as we plan, dream, and scheme. Instead, awareness puts us in control of how long that travel will last.

Our cranial time machine also takes us into the past, where we experience joyful memories, sadly regret, or claim lessons learned. Again, we command the machine, our mind, returning to the present when we want to. We can do more. 

[1] CDC.gov
[2] Business.com — Stress and Productivity: What the numbers mean
[3] HBR.org — Harvard Business Review
[4] MayoClinic.com
[5] FreeMindfulness.org
[6] Mindful.org
[7] VeryWellMind.org
[8] PalouseMindfulness.com
[9] NHS.uk — United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS)
[10] Mindful.org
[11] TenPercent.com
[12] InsightTimer.com
[13] TheMindfulnessApp.com
[14] SmilingMind.com.au — Smiling Mind (Australia)
[15] My.life
[16] UCLAHealth.org

George Pond

George Pond

Marketing Manager at ecoPreserve, LLC
George Pond brings over 20 years experience in technical writing, internet development, and social media marketing to ecoPreserve. In 17 years at Walt Disney World Co., he wrote program documentation and provided data architecture services. Also, as Business Solutions Analyst at Magic Kingdom Park, George initiated technology projects for over 300 managers and executives. He led FoxPro programming classes and taught Traditions I for Disney University. An experienced training developer, George wrote training programs for the U.S. Army, Computer Sciences Corporation, Sandy Corporation, and Fortune 500 clients nationwide. He is the author of A Job-Seeker’s Handbook for Social Media and the online course which accompanies it.
George Pond

@georgepond

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Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

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The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

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ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

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ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

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Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

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Interior Elements

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  • Flatwork
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Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

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