Every day, the news stations and newspapers present us with reports, facts, and opinions from all around the globe. People we meet also have news to share about their health, their family, and their jobs. We receive a daily dose of information and if we’re not careful with what we pay attention to, most of what we consume will not be pleasant.
While most of us are well aware that “remaining calm” or “love is the answer” are appropriate choices to the issues that we learn about or personally face, putting them into practice is another matter entirely when you find it challenging to monitor your thoughts, keep them in check, or even reign in actions that you really don’t want to pursue.
Numerous studies, including one by Boston’s MGH MBI and the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shows that after an 8 week period of meditation, the people who were participating in the research were positively affected even at the level of their genes, demonstrating that thoughts can and do affect the body at a cellular level.
While food and drink contain energy that can work with or against your body, optimal health does not only come from what you consume or apply topically, as you can see from the above study. It also arises from the internal, in what you think and do, and whom you surround yourself with.
What habits do you keep repeating?
What feelings and fears keep intruding?
Your mind makes mental movies of both actual and imagined situations as though the brain is witnessing it for real: laughter, arguments, and sad life events.
These images affect the whole self, thereby creating a reality whether you are conscious of it or not.
However, a diet of positive thoughts detoxifies the mind and improves your quality of life.
In other words, you are what you think.
Generating happiness in the workplace
Our moods, health, state of mind all influence the decision-making process and subsequent outcome of a reaction to stimuli. It is only when we consider the detrimental effects upon our heart, emotions, or the effects of our actions upon other people or our environment that we begin to see the need to be aware first of how we respond and secondly to the connection between ourselves and the world around us.
Is the workplace one that is mutually supportive? Are you able to express your opinions and have your creative ideas heard?
All of your past experiences, and your perception of your experiences, create physiological changes in the brain in response to new information that is received. This occurs on a continual basis via images, words, sounds, smells and a myriad of other information that the brain constantly absorbs, including data received from your own thoughts and emotions.
In the workplace, happiness and creating a positive work experience is crucial to not only retention but to the prosperity of a company. The current wave of research that displays dismal statistics of how unhappy and disengaged today’s employees are is also a reflection on effectiveness of leadership and the disconnect with corporate culture.
We all like to think that we have a good understanding of our deepest needs and motivations, yet we are often surprised by some of the things we find ourselves doing or saying. Thoughts have their own unique energy and work for you or against you, but if you don’t monitor them by paying attention, then it should not be a surprise when situations occur that you don’t really want.
Detoxing the workplace
The study mentioned above demonstrates the positive effects of meditation on the body at a cellular level. With an emphasis on emotional self-awareness you can start to notice how you feel and then have a different response whether it’s in reaction to last-minute requests to travel out of town on business or to respond to work emails that come in during the evening.
Reframing and focusing on positive experiences in your life means that you alter your perspective and can make different choices about where to spend your time and energy. Combined with emotional intelligence this has the effect of making you more constructive every day, while others are glad to see you because of your enthusiasm and positive mind-set and behavior.
We want to shift the balance from one of negativity to one where the research overwhelmingly shows that employees are happy and motivated and are having a positive work experience.
Positive changes are happening and it starts with each one of us.
We are responsible for our own actions, however with the help of our co-workers we can co-create a work environment that aligns with all our shared values, promotes creativity, and supports happiness and health.
Margaret Stockley is the CEO of POWCERT, providing wellness program certification to help managers increase employee engagement and reduce company costs. She is the author of “Transforming Workplace Wellness” and co-author of “Inner Knowledge”.
For further information on POWCERT certification or workplace wellness programs contact [email protected]