Mental health strategies for the workplace
13 February 2019
18 February 2019
Dr Clara Seeger
In this Insurance Institute of London (IIL) inclusion & diversity lecture Phil Toogood (Mindfulness, Neuroscience & Emotional Intelligence Performance Coach, Cranfield Phillips) and Dr Clara Seeger (Mindfulness, Neuroscience & Emotional Intelligence Performance Coach, Cranfield Phillips) introduced mindfulness as a way of cultivating greater mental balance. This was done through establishing a new baseline of sanity, beyond our habitual mental tendencies to be either task-focused or to fall into our default mode of rumination, obsessive thinking and mind wandering.
Phil and Dr Clara outlined addiction to stimulation and obsessive doing and illustrate, by way of neuroscience, the functioning as well as the limitation inherent in our brain's executive centre. This part of the brain is involved in the task-positive network, i.e. when we are consciously working on a task. It is energy-intensive and fatigues easily, shedding a new light on excessively long working days. Subsequently they then explained what happens in the brain when we are not focused on a specific task. We tend to ruminate, mind wander, fantasise, catastrophise, etc., often with a negative flavour. This is the baseline for most people and is called the Default Mode Network in neuroscience, a network that has been associated with several pathological mental conditions (Alzheimers, ADHD, etc.).
They then talked about mindfulness and its neural correlates as a difference mind mode, which has been associated with numerous health benefits for practitioners. Rather than being focused on obsessive doing or compulsive thinking, this practice engages the brain in a different way, its focus on 'being' rather than doing. The lecture concluded with a guided mindfulness practice that can be practiced any time in order to cultivate a new, healthier baseline of the mind.
By the end of this lecture members will have gained an insight into:
- The perils of productivity: the limitations of our executive brain and the dangers inherent in working against your brain
- Why switching off is not always restful: the risks of a mind let loose
- How mindfulness can help us overcome the dysfunctions of our habitual mind and how to practise it
Duration: 43 minutes
This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.