Where mindfulness in groups is concerned, the practice of mindful arrival is key. Mindful arrival is any activity that is practiced with the goal of focusing mental awareness in the service of acceptance prior to beginning an activity. Meetings and the beginning of the workday are excellent opportunities to practice mindful arrival. One example of mindful arrival is guided meditation at the beginning of a meeting. This guided meditation can take as few as three minutes, but it can have profound effects. Hands-on experience is the best place to learn guided meditation, and Mind Atlas™ provides training to equip your organization to make mindful arrival a part of your culture based upon years of experience.
When we walk through the door and into work, we are often carrying an emotional load with us that can influence in negative ways how we interact with others. Perhaps we had a spat with one of our children. Perhaps there was heavy traffic on the way to work. Perhaps we did not sleep well. This emotional load is nontrivial in terms of our workplace relationships. Mindful arrival through guided meditation creates a physical and mental calm that opens up psychological safety and trust in the group by creating distance from and reducing our emotional load.
In its simplest form, mindful arrival through meditation can be someone guiding a group through an exercise of focused breathing, where participants focus their attention on their breath. As attention is focused on the breathing, participants are gently verbally encouraged to return their attention to their breathing if their thoughts wander, which thoughts are wont to do. Participants can be asked to focus attention on parts of the body where stress and pain are often carried, such as the neck, shoulders, back and feet. As participants focus on these body parts, they can be invited to label whatever feelings they are experiencing, such as pain in the hip, or throbbing in the ankle. This acknowledgment of pain and discomfort through labeling in the context of meditation can create a space between the sensations and our reactions to the sensations. This practice moves individuals toward personal mastery—a state in which people are better able to use their emotional signals as information that guides wiser decisions.