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Mindful : August 2013
For mindfulness to work at work, it helps to have both a formal practice of mindful- ness and informa l practices that extend mindfulness into everyday life. Formal practice involves learning a basic mindfulness meditation such as following the breath a nd practicing it on a regular, preferably daily, schedule. Informal practice, no less important, can literally take place any second of the day. It involves nothing more tha n focusing the mind on whatever is happening in the present moment, outside of the shopworn patterns we have built up over a lifetime. Mindfulness interrupts the conditioned responses that prevent us f rom explor- ing new avenues of thought, choking our creative poten- tial. Each time we stand up against a habit—whether it’s checking our smartphone during a conversation or reacting defensively to a coworker’s passing remark— we weaken the grip of our conditioning. We lay down new tracks in the brain and fashion new synaptic connections. We become less likely in the future to default to patterns that can trap us into being satisfied with inef- fective a nd outmoded strate- gies. We take steps to improve not only how we are at work but the work environment itself. In this way, mindfulness is not just personal. It has a contagious quality that will change the culture in an organization—not necessar- ily in big, sweeping ways but gradually, incrementally. ● Make a Habit of It We lay down new tracks in the brain and fashion new synaptic connections. in practice insight 76 mindful August 2013 insight