- Published: Wednesday, 30 September 2015 12:00
If you heard the words “meditation” or “mindfulness” years ago, you probably thought of yogis or Buddhist monks. Now, however, numerous scientific and clinical trials have taken Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) into 21st century of science.
I became curious about the science of meditation or “mindfulness” in 2009, together with the Lean philosophy. The Western adaptation of Lean is usually focused on the implementation of tools. Partially this is due to the fact that “tools” are easier to see and translate than philosophy. Being a scientist I had my fair share of skepticism of mindfulness. The scientific and clinical literature, however, leaves no doubt about physiological changes that can be achieved.
By definition, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. It was developed and implemented by Jon Kabat-Zinn back in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School under the MBSR program. It started as an eight-week course involving patients that were not improving with conventional medicine. After the first few sessions of the meditation/yoga combination, the patients started to express a reduction in pain.
I have practiced mindfulness in various ways, including a course based on Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR program. I am also attending the Mindfulness October Summit online. Mindfulness has brought clarity and focus to my mind’s eye and it has taught me to see the present moment as an independent observer in a scientific "non-judgemental" way, acknowledging things for what they are. It is not about focusing on the positive but focusing less on the negative.
MBSR has been described as “the practice of learning to focus attention on moment-by-moment experience with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance”. The mental health benefits can be experienced everywhere mindfulness is implemented, including decreased anxiety, and increased resilience, attention, self-control and optimism. Studies have shown that office workers practicing MBSR for 20min/day reported reduction in stress.
In October and November, we are giving the Ozgene team an opportunity to experience mindfulness for themselves. I am hoping that they will discover the benefits of MBSR at work, as well as, in their personal lives. In addition to the weekly course sessions, each team member is given 30 minutes each day during work hours to practise mindfulness. I am quite excited to see how this will shape the Ozgene culture.
- Frank, CEO -