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Workplace mindfulness

New pilot program successfully completed

Campus and Community

By Melissa Watton

Feeling stressed?  Need help dealing with difficult situations? You are not alone. To help people deal with these types of issues, the Department of Human Resources recently piloted the Workplace Mindfulness Program.

Throughout the fall, 14 participants from the St. John’s and Marine Institute campuses participated in the pilot offering which promoted the benefits of mindfulness practices and provided training in the skillful use of mindfulness techniques.

“Practicing mindfulness has helped me learn to pause for a moment and respond more skillfully to any stressful situation that arises at work and in life generally,” said Dr. Carolyn Walsh

Ms. Kathleen Wall with Employee Wellness and Ms. Krystal Donahue with Learning and Development coordinated the program.

“Memorial offers a number of personal and professional development opportunities to employees interested in expanding their skill sets; however, until now there hadn’t been a program to help employees become mindful in their daily activities in the workplace. This pilot program filled that gap,” said Ms. Wall.

Workplace mindfulness program
Participants in the Mindfulness pilot program received their certificates in Dec. 2015
Photo: Chris Hammond

Mindfulness is important as it can be used to address difficult circumstances in an individual’s professional or personal life. Mindfulness practices help employees who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or distracted and can help them move forward with confidence and integrity when action is required.

Dr. Carolyn Walsh, Department of Psychology, participated in the pilot.

“This program has helped me gain a broader perspective on the often competing demands that I experience daily in my work,” Dr. Walsh explained. “Instead of feeling that I have to constantly multi-task in order to get things done, I now feel that I can more effectively decide how to respond to competing demands. Practicing mindfulness has helped me learn to pause for a moment and respond more skillfully to any stressful situation that arises at work and in life generally.”

Ms. Donahue said the program was enthusiastically received by participants.

“We are excited by the response to the program and glad feedback has indicated it has been helpful to those who participated,” she said.

Another project participant, Susan Sparrow, said it was a rewarding experience.

“Throughout the program, we were taught how to incorporate the practice of mindfulness into our daily lives. I am confident that these lessons will stay with everyone who participated in the program for years to come,” said Ms. Sparrow, research contracts officer with the Office of Research Grant and Contract Services.

The Department of Human Resources’ Employee Wellness and Learning and Development (L&D) offices collaborated in delivering the program which was facilitated by Mr. Andrew Safer from Safer Mindfulness Inc.. Employee Wellness and L&D hope to offer the program again in the future. For information on Employee Wellness and L&D initiatives, please visit the Human Resources and L&D websites.

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