Mindfulness for maximising learning

When, as a learner, do we find it easiest to learn something new? Is it when we have just found out that we got a parking ticket, someone hit our car, we have been up all night with a sick child, or is it when we are well rested, stress-free?

The state of mind affects performance

One’s state of mind directly affects one’s work performance (Harvard Business Review). In the training industry, common concerns are to instil motivation, and increase retention. If we can find a way to help our learners to improve their state of mind before taking training, then, in theory, it will help their memory retention. One method that could help them learn to manage their thoughts and state of mind more effectively is through mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Mindfulness as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”. However, how does one even begin to introduce that mindset of a nonjudgmental state about one’s thoughts? Well, like everything else that we do in life, we must train or practice.

Incorporating mindfulness into training

There are a few ways of incorporating these concepts into training programs, especially when a new training program indicates that the learner may have a high likelihood of resistance to the change.

  1. One can research different mindfulness exercises, and find creative ways of inserting them at various areas of the training. Here are some links to mindfulness exercises here:
    1. PocketMindfulness
    2. LeftBrainBuddha
  2. One could propose adding a mindfulness program to the work culture, such as what Google has done at their company:
    1. Forbes : How to kill a thought in a good way
    2. NY Times: Ok Google, Take a deep breath
    3. Forbes: Guide to Mindfulness at work
  3. One could even encourage those in the company to make use of guided exercises that usually last from 3 to 15 minutes either at the beginning of a training, in a newsletter or other company publication:
    1. UCLA

Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness may not be the solution to a specific business problem, however by introducing it to a workforce, either in a specific course, or through a specific mindfulness program, it can help reduce stress, create a more harmonious workplace, and give learners a better handle on situations that come their way. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?