The Mindfulness Project
- Posted on June 18, 2020
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Mishel Justesen.
Consulting life is not for the faint of heart. It can be fun and exciting, but it also comes with a large amount of stress. Let’s be honest, even before this “new normal” happened, it was already difficult to find time to take a moment to relax and reboot the brain. Now, we have to pair consulting life with the challenge of working from home, juggling kids, dinner time and what seems like even more meetings than before. Personally, I miss the luxury of stepping onto an airplane and using the flight time to tune out for a few hours. I’ve been very thankful for the Mindfulness training I took a few years ago.
You may have heard the term “Mindfulness” before. Mindfulness can be defined as the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not become overly reactive or overwhelmed to what is going on around us. Mindfulness is often paired with meditation, but you don’t have to light fancy candles, put yoga pants on, or do anything special to practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is easy to learn and incorporate into your daily life. I like to think of it as my superpower.
I have one Mindfulness “habit” that I do all the time. It’s very simple – just breathe, and pay attention to that breath. It’s amazing how this simple exercise can bring calm in a matter of moments. In early March, during a particularly challenging day for me and my team, the idea of sharing my Mindfulness trick popped into my head. It was so well received, I decided to bring Mindfulness to a bigger audience, and that is how The Mindfulness Project at Avanade began.
The Mindfulness Project at Avanade
My idea for The Mindfulness Project was simple. Why not use Teams to schedule virtual Mindfulness sessions? This would make it possible for anyone to join from wherever they may be (i.e., client site or home office). That was the easy part to figure out. Now, I just needed some help. Mindfulness works for me because I made it a habit. A habit takes time to build. I had an excellent Mindfulness coach who taught me the skills and then held me accountable. So, I knew exactly who to ask for some help.
I pitched the idea of doing online Mindfulness coaching sessions to Ashley Graber, a Los Angeles-based, nationally recognized psychotherapist, Mindfulness expert and a syndicated columnist with Thrive Global, GOOP & Medium Magazines. She loved the idea and helped to launch The Mindfulness Project in a very short amount of time. Our first session happened on March 12. It was a big success and the number of attendees has continued to grow every time we meet. We host two live coaching sessions a month for 30 minutes during lunch. Each session includes learning one easy Mindfulness exercise and a short meditation session. Best of all, Ashley is holding us all accountable and coaching us on our Mindfulness journey.
Since March, we have learned some very easy Mindfulness tools. “Name it to tame it.” The “STOP” practice, which takes two minutes to learn and start using. And my personal favorite, the Mindfulness glitter jar (recipe can be found on Teams). The glitter jar is a fun activity for adults and children to do together and makes the concept of Mindfulness very easy to understand. It's also a great "calm down" tool to have on your desk! Ashley has adults across the world using them at work.
I’ve had a few people ask me if I would consider using one of the Mindfulness apps like Headspace or Calm. I have downloaded them – but I don’t ever use them. To be honest, the thought of pulling out my phone, doing a search, opening the app, figuring out what I want to listen to and wondering if I have to pay for it, stresses me out. I like using my mindfulness superpower. It’s so much easier to just breathe.