BECOME MORE MINDFUL IN THE WORKPLACE: MINUTE MEDITATIONS

Mindfulness (2)Part 2. Minute Meditations

So now that we have established that mindfulness may be the key to boosting productivity and reducing stress during our workday, the next step is figuring out how exactly to be more mindful. During this series, we will present a variety of ways you can increase your mindfulness. Your job is to try them out and see what techniques work best for you. 

This week, our focus is on minute meditations. Too busy to work meditation into your schedule? Well, contrary to what you may believe, you do not need to attend a silent retreat, train to be a monk or even dedicate hours a day to successfully meditate. In fact, you can benefit from meditating for just one minute at a time. 

Minute meditations can be an energizing way to center yourself and find some mental clarity while taking a break from your computer screen. How, you ask? When you’re feeling stressed, frantic, depleted of energy or in a mental fog, stop what you’re doing. Just for one minute, try to focus completely on your breathing. Count every inhale and exhale until you’ve reached 30. Here’s a helpful stick figure video to show you how easy it can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6eFFCi12v8

At first, you might find meditating with your eyes closed in a quiet place while comfortably seated best, but once you get the hang of focusing on your breath, try performing minute meditations with your eyes open and in different settings. Perform a minute meditation while taking a break outside, walking around the building, stretching at your desk or even on your drive in to work. A successful minute meditation will be calming and serves to bring your attention back under your control so that you can direct it to only what’s most important. 

Now that you know how, it’s time to get some practice. We recommend scheduling a minute meditation at least once a day for the next several days to get used to making it a part of your routine. Next up, we’ll be talking about how you can use technology to help you become a minute meditation master!

 

Get More Done by Slowing Down – How to Boost Productivity and Reduce Stress by Becoming More Mindful in the Workplace

Mindfulness (1)Part 1. An Introduction to Mindfulness

Have you made a habit of scarfing down a quick (usually unhealthy) lunch at your desk, while juggling emails, text messages and phone calls, all while trying to finish up a presentation for work? Are “tired”, “stressed”, or  “busy” your typical responses to, “How’re you doing”? Feeling like fresh ideas and enthusiasm to go to work might be things of the past?? Well, the answer to reducing work stress, while still boosting your productivity, might not be what you think. In fact, the answer we’re proposing might be the exact opposite of what your mind has been telling you to do. The answer is (:::drumroll:::): Slow down. To be more specific, instead of trying to juggle more, increase your mindfulness to maximize your efficiency. Likely added bonuses to being more mindful include: better memory, more creativity, improved immune function, and reductions in stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure.

Mindfulness has become a mainstream term, yet for most people, figuring out how and why to apply it in their own lives remains elusive. In this blog series, the Apex team is going to detail the multitude of benefits you can reap from being more mindful, as well as guide you through how to become a mindfulness master in the workplace.

Before we launch into different ways to integrate mindfulness into your workday, let’s first define what we mean by “being mindful”. We’re talking about living in the now. We’re talking about increasing your moment-to-moment awareness and learning to return yourself to the present whenever you stray into the past or the future. Being mindful also means that you need to skip the judgement. No judging your own thoughts or feelings. Simply observe them as you have them, then let them pass. As a visual, it may be helpful to imagine your ongoing thoughts and feelings as a river with you positioned on the bank watching the water flow by.

As we embark on the process to becoming more mindful, it’s important to remember that mindfulness is a skill. It takes regular, dedicated practice to develop and hone your mindfulness abilities. Furthermore, in today’s fast-paced world we have gotten accustomed to constantly dividing our attention among numerous screens and trying to multitask. Since most of us have made overloading our attention “normal”, you might find focusing on just the present surprisingly difficult. In these early days, do your best not to get frustrated when your attention wanders. Start small. One minute of mindfulness might feel like an eternity at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will get.

In this series, you will learn specific ways to become more mindful at work. Our recommendation is to try each of them out (multiple times!) and find out what mindfulness methods work best for you. Next time, we will be discussing Minute Meditations. Learn how you don’t need to be a Buddhist monk or even own a yoga mat to make meditation a regular part of your work day.

Sound too good to be true? Well, if you’re still skeptical about how awesome the power of mindfulness can be, we encourage you to dive into the science behind mindfulness. There’s plenty of it. Some of our favorite articles on the topic include:

Can you Visualize your Success? Elite Athletes can.

Gold-Medal-Winning-BusinessElite athletes understand that beyond the hours at the gym, what often sets them apart is their mental approach to their sport. The same is true for your own pursuits. Beyond skill sets, education, work experience, or personal strengths what sets peak performers apart from everyone else is taking the time to be mentally prepared for performance.

Kayla Harrison, the first American to win a gold in judo in the 2012 Olympics, uses imagery to see her performance before it takes place. She explained her process to The Washington Post that she takes 10 minutes every night to visualize herself heading to the Olympics — from waking up in the morning to listening to music on the way to the competition to the match itself: “I picture myself bombing the girl in the final and standing on top of the podium and watching the flag go up and feeling the gold Continue reading

The Moment of a Lifetime

How to stay in the moment when performance matters

medalsThe Olympics offer a great opportunity to witness how the best athletes in the world succeed at the highest levels in their sport. We are enthralled by the Olympics precisely because of the action in the moment, not a three-hour game or an entire season, but sometimes a split second.  One of the key differences between Olympic champions, such as Katie Ledecky, and most everyone else is their ability to stay “in the moment” when the pressure is the highest and the margin for winning or losing is the smallest.

For the athletes competing in the Olympics this is the moment they have worked for their whole lives. It may be their first time appearing as it is for Simone Biles or their last time to compete on this world stage as it is this year for Michael Phelps. How do they not succumb to all of the mental thoughts and pressures that are now riding on one single moment of performance that can boil down to 1/10th of a second?   Olympic success comes from the Olympian’s ability to lock into “the moment.” While in action, gold medalists do not think about past or future performances. They stay in this performance because all that matters is the moment here and now.

In training athletes on the mental aspect of performance, Apex Performance emphasizes that when “a moment” comes along, you either define the moment or the moment defines you.  The ability to do that requires deliberate training and preparation. It is a given that you need to be among the very best in the competencies that define what you do, but that is not enough to win a medal.

Recognizing and acting on a defining moment does not just apply to Olympic athletes but to all performers who need to be at their best when it matters most. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a high school athlete, or a business executive, learning how to focus and stay in “the moment” is crucial to your success. In the business world we often hear staying or performing in the moment as “mindfulness.”

Apex views being able to perform in the moment, or practicing being mindful as being mentally prepared. Mental preparation techniques such as adaptive thinking, mental agility and imagery, all significantly increase the potential for recognizing a defining moment and acting upon it. These are the mental capacities that Apex teaches clients how to train and develop.

The stage for most performers is not the Olympics, however you can train like an Olympian by improving your mental performance through systematic and deliberate training of skills that allow you to define your moments.

The 5 Rules of Attention Control you need to be more productive

book no background

Click the link below to read a great blog giving “The 5 Rules of Attention Control You Need to Be More Productive” taken from Dr. Csoka’s book:

http://playbook.amanet.org/5-rules-attention-control-you-need-be-more-productive/

 

 

 

 

Feeling Stressed? Trigger Your Relaxation Response

Playbook BlogTips on how to trigger your relaxation response from Dr. Csoka’s book WHEN THE PRESSURE’S ON featured on AMA’s Playbook blog: http://playbook.amanet.org/feeling-stressed-trigger-relaxation-response/

In the book Dr. Csoka discusses how being able to trigger the relaxation response is necessary to combat the negative effects too much stress can have on the body

AMA’s blog post covers some simple relaxation techniques that are in the book.These techniques can provide the means for recovery from stress to ensure re-engagement in the moment and continued high performance.
Click here for more information on the book and where to purchase your copy.

 

 

Press Release: Dr. Csoka’s Book WHEN THE PRESSURE’S ON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Irene Majuk 212-903-8087/imajuk@amanet.org

Build the Mindset to Thrive and Succeed under Fire!
WHEN THE PRESSURE’S ON
The Secret to Winning When You Can’t Afford to Lose

On the line to deliver bigger results with a smaller budget, overwhelmed with demands, carrying the weight of slacker teammates, grappling to keep up with technology, reeling from abrupt, unanticipated change… Sound familiar? Working under such conditions has become a common, everyday reality.  Few people have the power to eliminate the causes of workplace stress or the luxury of being able to simply quit their job.

There’s another option—within everyone’s reach. “You can improve the way you respond to stress: physiologically, mentally and emotionally,” peak performance expert Dr. Louis S. Csoka Continue reading

Official Release Date of Dr. Csoka’s New Book

Dr. Csoka’s new book is being released by the publisher Monday, May 16th!

book no backgroundDo you have what it takes?

At the highest level of any pursuit, the difference between the two top performers in a contest is always mental. One holds it together—while the other falls apart. The same is true in business. Whether you are confronting a crisis, making a pitch, negotiating a deal, or facing a deadline, your mindset can give you the edge.

When the Pressure’s On brings peak performance principles to the boardroom, revealing five core mental skills that enable professionals to excel while under duress:

Goal Setting—become mission-driven
Adaptive Thinking—replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Stress/Energy Management—keep your cool no matter what
Attention Control—maintain focus despite distractions
Imagery—see success before it happens

Together, the skills form the core of this complete brain-training program, which is packed with guidelines, examples, exercises, assessments, and the latest advances in biofeedback and neuroscience. By learning to harness the power of your mind, you’ll achieve extraordinary results when it matters most.

Click one of the links below to get your copy!

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Five Rules of Stress Management

Click hereWhenThePressureOn to read a preview from Chapter 6 of Dr. Csoka’s new book on Five Rules of Stress Management.

The book is now available for pre-sale and will be released May 16th, 2016.

 

 

Management Fads

fadApex Performance celebrated its 10 year anniversary last year. The founders of Apex have worked in the performance field and tracked management fads for over 25 years. Over these years many management fads have come and gone.

What has not changed is that too often organizations adopt these ideas without much homework.  Complex concepts can be boiled down to a word such as “mindfulness” and suddenly it is the newest fad without understanding the science behind the practice.

The HR function is often pressured to bring in the latest and greatest approaches to increase performance, productivity, and leadership practices to management. While innovation is a positive thing, a downside to that pressure to bring in new ideas is that often only the cliff notes version has been absorbed by management.

This past year, “mindfulness” training seems to be the hot new fad.  Yes, there are merits to most Continue reading

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