Meditation as path to happiness

Blog Category: Research,stories
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: December 27, 2007 at 9:22 pm
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Season’s greetings to you and your families.

As a way to bring in the new year we thought we would focus on  “Meditation as path to happiness’ as one of our final pieces for 2007.  There is also an increasing body of scientific research showing definite links and health benefits on all levels to meditation and mindfulness.

Some of you may not be aware but my university education is in science, studying biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and immunology. This background combined with my life long participation in sport and my love of yoga and meditation has kept me looking out for the work that links them all together and show the links between mind body and spirit.

Top performing people in many occupations are often extremely self-aware and other-aware. Many participate in forms of reflection and meditative practice to assist them in remaining effective in their day-to-day work and dealings with self and others. With that in mind, as another year comes to an end, it is often an opportunity to take time to reflect on the year that was and our role in it.

With all that we do it is so easy to become caught up in the relentless pursuit of meeting deadlines, pursuing goals and just keeping everything on track, personally and professionally. With all this activity we may put ourselves at risk of missing the wonderful opportunities to reflect on what we have learned and what we already have to be grateful for in our lives.

I have personally been reflecting on the on the 13 years I have been in my own business. From those early days to now has been quite some journey. I began this business on 9 January 1995 with the intention of working with the whole person to develop their potential to engage in productive work relationships in concert with a bigger picture. Our aim has always been to help people grow and gain mastery through greater self-awareness, understanding, mindfulness and purposeful action. In doing this work, we too, have learned much, received many insights and found much to be grateful for along the way. I have been wanting to speak publicly for a long time about mindfulness and meditation, however back 13 years ago mindfulness, meditation and self-awareness were not mainstream topics for discussion in business. The good news is, that in more recent times, these practices are taking the main stage. Unlike some new age ideas in the market today, people are realising these practices are not fads, they are life long skills which allow for mastery in many areas, including sales. People are now recognising that using Mindfulness and Meditation helps them be more effective, creative and relaxed at work, home and in the community.

yoga

With that I would like to introduce you to some of the current work being done in this area. Meditation as path to Happiness (PDF) is paper written and presented by Dr. Craig Hassed at the 2006 Happiness and its Causes conference www.happinessanditscauses.com.au. Dr Craig Hassed was trained in medicine at Melbourne University and graduated in 1984. His interest in a holistic approach led him to focus on wellbeing rather than simply treating illness. This led him to focus upon counselling, mind-body medicine and meditation. In 1988 Craig decided to make a contribution to bridging these missing links in medical education through joining the Monash University Department of Community Medicine and General Practice. I would like to thank him for giving us permission to publish this article and bring his work to your attention. Topics include:

  • The stress response and its effects on the mind, brain and body
  • Mental health today
  • The importance of attention
  • The search for happiness
  • Meditation, healing and happiness
  • Mindfulness meditation

Happy New Year & Best WishesWarmest regards

Sue & Jobst

Burnt-out, tired, had enough?

Blog Category: stories
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: December 27, 2007 at 9:16 pm
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How do we manage ourselves in times of stress? If you are anything like me, you probably struggle from time to time trying to keep up with all these things and more.  As a working mother and small business owner there are times when I can barley speak due to tiredness.
While the topics of stress, depression and other health issues are getting more press today, these problems often remain hidden from view and never spoken about until it’s too late.

Why should people burnout at all? It’s such a waste.

What we know is that good consistent business performers are usually resilient, focused and determined in nature and, in my experience, usually have a sense of ‘wellness’ about them. Their wellness shines through and is supported by good life habits such as:

  1. Undertaking regular exercise.
  2. Having a healthy diet.
  3. Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all.
  4. Having a variety of other interests in their life.
  5. Prioritising very well.
  6. Not taking illicit drugs.
  7. Continued self development.

However, even healthy people sometimes ‘hit the wall’ and ‘burn out’. An accumulation of things can happen and before you know it you’ve hit the wall. With too many things happening too quickly, you often do not stop to deal with them one by one.

If this accumulation of stressful events continues, then they simply roll you over and flatten you. Given high performers have the capacity to produce consistently well, we can often miss vital signs of our stressors.

For instance when things don’t go so well, we can take on too much and over compensate for others’ lack of performance. If this happens over and over again it wears you down. I have experienced a major burnout. It was not pleasant and very stressful. I am sure I am not alone when it comes to stress as a working mother or as a business owner

Now I am no expert on stress management, however I have been an avid user of many tried and true approaches to help me be at my best and ensure I am ‘fit’ and can still juggle my many duties.

Instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs or other harmful actions as others may do, I sort out my support network. That is why I thought it would be useful to provide a list of some of the services people can access before, during or after they find themselves dealing with stressful situations. Please find following a preliminary list of associations you may like to explore:

Prevention in the best cure and hindsight is a wonderful teacher. Never forget nothing is impossible to fix and there is always an option out there to help you deal with any challenging situation. Don’t forget to ask for help there is always someone there.

I hope this helps.

Reflecting on Reflecting

Blog Category: meditation techniques
Blogged by: Sue Barrett
Created on: December 27, 2007 at 9:08 pm
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I don’t know about you, but I often find myself reflecting on a whole range of things in my life including my professional  career and wondering at all the things I have learned over the years.

Conscious reflecting on my personal and professional life has now become almost a daily occurrence for me. There are so many aspects to reflect upon.  For instance the many roles I play as mother, partner, boss, leader, peer, sister, daughter, friend and so on.  There are many other areas that affect me and my participation in the world such politics, the environment, wars, excessive consumerism, values, morals, ethics, events locally and around the world and my view and interpretation of them.  Then there is my view of myself and how I see and feel about myself.  

So it was with some amusement that I found myself reflecting on reflecting itself and how valuable it is to our continued development and overall healthy functioning in this ever-changing world.

In this busy world, too many of us do not take the time to self-reflect. Yet self-reflection can be one of the best things you can do for yourself personally and professionally. In fact research reveals that self-reflection and self-appraisal are the top key attributes demonstrated on a regular basis by top performing sales people. Is it any wonder then why they are top of their field?

So I thought it might be worth reflecting on Self-reflection.

Self-Reflection involves both skills and an attitude of acceptance

Reflection is “thinking about a thing, particularly with a notion of meditation upon a previous experience or event and its significance” (Penguin Dictionary of Psychology)

In the context of Competency enhancement and self-development, Self Reflection relates to what a person thinks about the feedback received, whether it be direct feedback or your observations of others’ reactions to your actions and the outcomes you achieve.

Reflecting on Self involves:

· Making realistic self-appraisals

· Being willing and able to see those aspects of yourself you are less happy with, i.e. your shadow self

· Being motivated to grow, learn and willing to change

· Creating opportunities to receive feedback – It is hard to give feedback at the best of times. We can enhance the likelihood of others’ giving us feedback by giving them invitations to do so

The benefits obtained from Reflecting on Self can be enhanced through the use of the following key skills.

Skills…

Self Awareness – the condition of being aware of, or conscious of oneself – in the sense of having a relatively objective but open and accepting appraisal of one’s true personal nature.

Self-Appraisal – the process of providing an appraisal of oneself

Adopt an attitude of…

Acceptance – seeing yourself as you really are, even if what you see feels unpleasant, being receptive to any aspect of yourself without trying to avoid it or deny.

Non-judging – taking an objective and impartial approach. Being aware of your judgments of yourself and others and then taking a step back to watch, listen and understand.

I encourage you to take time in your day to reflect on yourself, your goals, your plans, your career and your life.

The time you take to self-reflect might just be worth it.