Longer talk by Janice Marturano, Institute of Mindful Leadership. Her new book, Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership, was published earlier this year, 2014.
World Economic Forum Speaker/Institute for Mindful Leadership
Janice was the former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at General Mills where she developed America's #1 executive training program. She was the first person ever to be invited to speak on Mindful Leadership at the World Economic Forum (Jan 2013), and has worked with leading Fortune 500 companies, the US Army and the US Air Force.
An overview (see Blog page for more information on the cognitive neuroscience of mindfulness
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A report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, published May 2014, exposes that stress and mental ill health at work costs Australian business a staggering $10.9 billion annually (Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance/PWC Research). In 2011, research revealed that stress had replaced physical injury as the main workplace threat (SMH, Aug 13-14, 2011).
In the UK last year, April 2013, Jon Kabat-Zinn was invited to Downing Street to work with Downing Street policy makers to introduce mindfulness into the National Health Service, as mindfulness has unlimited applicability for a very wide range of healthcare issues, and not only that, but compared to other interventions, it is cheap. The MBSR program (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) is already available in certain areas of the UK through the National Health Service, after referral from a GP.
Emotional states such as stress, anxiety, depression and anger negatively affect executive functions such as working memory, information processing, decision making, emotional regulation and impulse control. A large part of this is because the 'stress centre' - the amygdala - can hijack the prefrontal cortex (the thinking processor) of the brain.
The practice of mindfulness quietens the amygdala and stabilises the working of the prefrontal cortex which improves executive function. Mindfulness practice also improves our ability to receive and process information and enhances memory.
An increasing number of high-level organisations and corporations are looking to mindfulness as a core strategy for improving resilience, focus and performance and for fostering the kinds of qualities that make good leaders - the kind of leaders team members want to follow.
In the areas of business where mindfulness training has been introduced, findings from US research strongly suggest that:
Studies at Harvard and elsewhere show that post-mindfulness training, there is significant increase in sustained attention, concentration, emotional regulation and perspective taking. In addition to improved wellbeing, MBSR has been shown to improve immune response, helping to defend against illness. Three decades of research have shown that MBSR alleviates stress and anxiety, and depression; it also has been proved to help hypertension and chronic pain.
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