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Being at our best in and out of the office.

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Presentation on theme: "Being at our best in and out of the office."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wellness@Work Being at our best in and out of the office.

2 What’s in today’s toolkit? 2 The Brain at Work Mindfulness in the Workplace The 6 Cylinders of Wellness Your Health Check Staying on Track

3 The Brain at Work

4 Head vs Heart: PFC vs the Limbic System 4 Our skeletal muscle while comprising of 40% of our body weight, needs only 18% of our energy. Or brain however, is only 2% of our body weight but needs 20% of our energy.

5 PFC manages the following processes: UnderstandingNew Concepts JudgmentWeighing competing facts and making a decision MemoryStoring info RecallRetrieving info YET, Limited thinking power – finite resource – tires easily 2-3 hrs per day SO, We need to be smarter in the way we use our limited resources. PFC Functions and Limitations 5

6 Barriers to an intelligent day Social threats The way we work 6

7 Level 1 tasks Deleting emails (easy – minimal processing required) Level 2 tasks Scheduling meetings (some thinking / logistics required) Level 3 tasks Writing a pitch (complex problem solving) Level 3 tasks need to be uninterrupted and have the space available. We tend wear ourselves out with Level 1 and 2 tasks, not leaving enough capacity for level 3 tasks. 10% of people do their best thinking at work for this reason. Throwing PFC Resources down the drain 7

8 Multitasking is computer engineering language. It is NOT possible for the human brain!! Male or Female. Exercise What is possible is shift tasking – a very inefficient way to do anything. Solution Focus on one thing and execute well without distraction. Choose to attend to a new task IF you choose that it’s more important. The Multi-tasking Myth 8

9 Social Threats in the Workplace The limbic system works on Threat and Rewards. REWARDS induce positive emotions and good decisions. THREATS induce an emergency response. Unfortunately, the brain can’t tell the difference between and physical threat and an emotional threat. So if we don’t manage these threats in the workplace, it can feel like we are constantly under attack. Three social threats to manage are: Stability and predictability in our work life and schedule Having choice and being in control of our workload Connecting with colleagues, clients, managers, staff and clients Certainty Autonomy Relating 9

10 Social Threats in the Workplace What happensHow to Manage Certainty Our brain likes certainty while ambiguity arouses the limbic system – “What is going to happen??” Plan and schedule. Communicate early and often. Ask lots of questions. Autonomy The brain likes to have CHOICE. When change or decisions feel imposed, choice is removed and stress increases. Take control of the little things. Control the controllable (let go of the rest). Relating Our brain immediately classifies people as either friend or foe. Unfortunately, FOE is our default position. Build your IN GROUP. Understand the experience of others to bring them into your group. LISTEN. 10

11 Mindfulness in the Workplace “ Mind full or Mindful”

12 Mindfulness promotes cognitive change Mindfulness is the capacity to know what’s going on inside. Increased mindfulness, decreases use of the limbic system and increases cognition. Kirk Brown, shows via the MAAS (Mindful Awareness Attention Scale) that this trait can be increased and decreased. Three Levels of Mindfulness 1)AwarePaying attention 2)In the moment100% Focused. 3)Clear.No judgments. This is associated with a reward state. 12

13 Barriers to being in the moment What’s missing??? 13

14 Flight and the Hypothalamus The hypothalamus in the animal kingdom switches on and off rapidly. Unfortunately, this is what separates us from the animals! 14

15 The Imagination Curse I’m worried about something that is real. What if something really bad happens (albeit unrealistic). 15

16 Mindfulness Techniques Understand social threats threats and manage your response Observe your internal reactions Three continuous breaths Focus on facts > imagination LISTEN For an in-depth look at mindfulness in the workplace, the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre has a great resource: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (London, Piatkus; May 2011). 16

17 The 6 Cylinders of Wellness

18 Nutrition YES - water, breakfast, balanced diet, small meals NO - trans fats, big dinners, extreme diets, processed foods However, don’t assume that the lifestyle section of the paper has all the answers for you. See your healthcare professional to get a thorough diagnostic. Objective: See what your body needs and fuel up. 18

19 Social Connections 19 We are social animals. The evidence: - A happy friend increases our chance of happiness by 15% - Not having close friends is equivalent to smoking or being overweight - Loners are 2 to 5 times more likely to get sick - Having lots of digital friends increases our digital stress Objective: Stay connected

20 Exercise & Fitness 20 Being ACTIVE is the key. The evidence: - 20min of low intensity exercise = 65% drop in fatigue - 30min walking = increased happiness = reduced depression - Active people are smarter than non active people Objective: Be Active. ??

21 Sleep 21 The body clock is more powerful than anything we have to fight it. We all have different needs, so it’s good technique to listen to your body and find a regular pattern. Objective: Regular sleep patterns & no snooze alarm The evidence: Poor sleep: = poor memory and performance = 3 times more likely to be overweight = more stress hormones

22 Time Out 22 Having a break booked in makes a big difference to day to day stress management. Even a mini-break. Objective: Book some time out The evidence: Holidays = Less stress = live longer = healthier = 50% less likely to have a heart attack

23 Outlets Outlets or hobbies provide a FLOW experience which engages our bodies and minds. Objective: Unplug daily The evidence: Flow = High concentration = High self-esteem = Improved health Mindfulness= improved working memory = improved executive functioning = reduced stress and anxiety 23

24 They work as a pack 24

25 Staying on Track

26 Barriers & Solutions 26 What prevents us from achieving our objectives? Time Pressure and Workloads Our own Stress Self Doubt Life Overcoming these is not difficult; it just requires discipline: Share your objectives and have more than 1 source of accountability Build reviews into your plan and stick to it – use technology Adjust the plan when you need to Celebrate milestones and success to keep you motivated

27 Research Exercise Complete your Health Check And Wellness Workbook 27

28 Wellness Checklist We are at our best when we:  Tune up our 6 cylinders of wellness  Get the most out of our PFC  Manage threats and keep the limbic system calm  Practice Mindfulness  Focus on facts and reality (keep imagination in check)  Have a plan to stay on track 28

29 For further detail and insights: 1)Read Davis Rock’s work on Neuro-leadership 2)Listen to the Mark Williams podcast on ‘Mindfulness & the Brain’ (Oxford Uni via iTunesU) 3)Visit 4)Visit for the white papers and the 6 cylinders. 5)Contact Christopher Paterson: 0411 526 748

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