Guest contribution from Dr. Geoffrey Soloway
Mindful or Mindless?
Imagine coming home from a stressful day at work and your head is swimming with the day’s events. Who said what to whom, how you did or didn’t respond to a colleague, and what’s on your plate for tomorrow. Sound familiar? The problem with this scenario is that because you’re absorbed in these thoughts replaying the day, you’re not able to see what’s right in front of you. Did you notice the greeting you got from a pet or loved one? Did you enjoy or even really taste your dinner? Did you notice a family member wanting to tell you something but waiting to be asked? All of these moments make up our lives and they pass us by unless we’re in the moment and paying attention.
Living in the moment is not simply a nice catch phrase or philosophy, learning to be more mindful is a science of mind that has a measurable impact on the brain. There is a tremendous amount of evidence over the past 20 years demonstrating the benefits of training in mindfulness for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Mindfulness is a form of mental exercise that, similar to physical exercise, becomes stronger with practice.
Faculty and Staff at UBC have the opportunity to exercise their mindfulness muscles with the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge. The Challenge is an online mindfulness training coming to UBC starting Feb 1, 2016. The Challenge can be accessed via any computer or mobile device, anytime, anywhere and focuses on simple yet powerful and achievable learning objectives. Content is delivered through engaging videos, infographics, podcasts, and delivered on an innovative learning platform developed specifically for this training. According to Dr. Geoff Soloway, “We understand that in order for the training to stick, learners need opportunity to integrate new skills and habits in everyday life that rewire new neural pathways in the brain. That is why the 30 Day Challenge focuses on mindfulness-in-action.”
One central proposition of the Challenge is that you aren’t doing it alone. Each person will be asked to invite a buddy from outside the organization to complete the training with. The learning platform connects you with your buddy on a daily basis so you are learning together and motivating each other to stay on track. Just like a workout buddy, we view the 30 Day Challenge like a mental workout. After just 5-10 minutes a day, Dr. Soloway says participants and their buddies will be less stressed, more focused, better able to adapt to problems that arise as well as work better with others.
The 30 Day Challenge is perfect for people who work in high-stress jobs with long or irregular hours, time pressures and a lot of responsibility. The Challenge is a great first step for those new to mindfulness and even those who may be a bit resistant yet secretly curious. The Challenge runs for 30 consecutive days, yet life happens and you might miss a few days. Being successful is much more about how you live your life, and whether you are learning to make mindfulness a part of that — even for a few moments, every now and then.
To learn more about mindfulness and the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge, please attend a one hour information session:
January 12, 2016 -1:15pm-2:15pm (VGH/DHCC) Click here to register
January 13, 2016 – 12:30pm-1:30pm (Point Grey Campus) Click here to register
To secure a space in the 30-Day Challenge, payment ($25 Payable by cash, JV to KPGK or by cheque payable to UBC Human Resources) must be made at an orientation session or sent to UBC Human Resources (attn. Melissa Lafrance). Please note your preference for either the February 1 or March 14 start dates.
For more information on mindfulness, Dr. Geoff Soloway or the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge, please visit www.mindwellcanada.com.
Follow us on Twitter at @MindWellMind and use hashtag #UBC30day to connect with fellow participants, ask questions and deepen your learning.