How Mindfulness Supports Presence + Engagement during Learning Experiences
Maybe you’re already hip to mindfulness and have been practicing for years, even before it became a buzzword. Maybe you’re someone who feels like you’re just not “a mindfulness person.”
Regardless of your personal relationship to it, there are a lot of benefits to integrating aspects of mindfulness in any online event.
Research has shown the powerful impact and effects of mindfulness on physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s not just “woo woo” or “crunchy granola” stuff!
Integrating a few mindful moments into your event can exponentially support participants to tap into their emotions and senses during learning experiences, and become fully present and engaged.
Let’s dive in a bit more to the what, why, and the how of mindfulness:
🤷 WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
There is no single definition of mindfulness, but here’s one we like from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D: Mindfulness is “the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”Meditation is only one form of mindfulness, and there are actually MANY different varieties of mindful practices you can choose from:
- Mindful eating
- Mindful walking
- Mindful conversations
- Mindful breathing
- And more!
The key is finding a mindful practice that feels authentic to you!
🤷 WHY MINDFULNESS?Extensive research has been done on why it’s beneficial – physically, psychologically, and socially – to practice mindfulness regularly.
To name just a few reasons, mindfulness increases and supports:
- learning potential
- focus and attention
- emotional and mental health
- and much more!
It also decreases stress, depression, multi-tasking, and implicit bias.
Not only that, mindfulness can help us attain better results and increase engagement in our virtual meetings.
In today’s digitally distractible world, mindfulness can help us drown out the noise and focus on what matters in the moment. For example, the simple act of inviting everyone to take a mindful moment to fully arrive at a meeting can have a powerful impact at the start of a gathering. It helps people feel grounded, centered, and ready to dive into the topic at hand instead of still pondering the last event that ended less than 1 minute ago.
No one wants to kick off an important brainstorm when the group is still processing their previous meeting! But it happens quite often! Harvard researchers suggest that most people spend 47% of time thinking about something other than what they are doing, which contributes to unhappiness. 🤯
🤷 HOW TO INTEGRATE MINDFULNESS INTO YOUR EVENTS?
There are an infinite number of ways to leverage mindfulness in your online meetings, here are just a few ideas to spark your own creativity:
👉 It can Start in the Waiting Room
Did you know that you can customize your Zoom waiting room settings to have a personal message waiting for the meeting attendees?
We often leverage this as a way to invite participants to take a moment to mindfully arrive, close out tabs, take some deep breaths, and get ready for the experience to come.
👉 Take a Mindful Moment
The simple act of inviting the group to take even just 3 collective breaths, or practice box breathing, can make a world of difference to slow down and refocus in the midst of back-to-back meetings. We recognize it can feel awkward, at first, if this is not part of your organization’s culture. However, if you ask participants how they feel before and after the breathing, it will help everyone to acknowledge the positive impact it had and make it feel worthwhile.
👉 Tap into Your Senses
Paying attention to all of our senses can be a refreshing, new experience for participants, and a great way to tap into mindfulness.
One activity we like to do is is the 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Sensory Journey:
- First ask everyone to look away from the screen and look around their environment. What are 5 different objects they can see and really focus on?
- Next, ask participants to stand up, walk around their room and touch 4 different things, really feeling and noticing their different qualities.
- Invite everyone to hear 3 different sounds in their own environment. Encourage them to really take in those ordinary sounds that might typically slip by without them realizing it.
- Next, ask the group to smell 2 different things – it can be objects like a book or a plant.
- Last but not least, take time to taste 1 thing – whether it is a drink, a snack, or even the taste on your tongue.
👉 Mindful Movement
Just because we are meeting virtually, don’t forget that we each have a body! Finding creative ways to provide your participants with mindful movement is not only a gift, but an act of self-care.
Movement doesn’t always have to be high energy, it can be restorative too. You can invite attendees to do some mindful movement to get centered after a break or when the energy dips and you need a little boost. The movement can include some mindful stretches, mirroring a partner on the screen, or even a walk-and-talk if applicable.
🧘 You’re invited to dive deeply into mindfulness with us!
Feeling a little daunted by this topic and want more mindfulness tools for your facilitation tool bag?
⭐ Join our upcoming Virtual Connection Lab on August 17th on the topic of Mindfulness facilitated by Ban Ishii, Facilitator and Engagement Manager at Headspace, and Neelu Kaur, Wellness & Stress Management Specialist.
In this interactive session, you will learn to tap into your inner wisdom so you can respond more skillfully to the needs of others, and communicate with more compassion at work and at home.
Use code “MINDFULBLOG” to register for FREE if it’s your first time joining us.Sign up here!