On April 29th, Runway East hosted a special evening event, focusing not on our businesses, but on ourselves.
We invited Alexis Bicât – Calmworks head instructor, to join us and help guide some wilful participants through a series of simple Mindfulness practices.
Alexis has worked with companies including Penguin, Lyst, Criteo, Mind Candy, Forward Partners, YPlan and Peer 1. Not only is it an impressive list of clients, but it also makes him one of the most experienced instructors for Mindfulness in the workplace.
Firstly, we look at why we would want to do this. Mindfulness isn’t just designed to help with our day to day lives, but also with our work lives. Being mindful can increase our productivity, it can help us to take a step back and consider our decisions, and perhaps most importantly of all, it can reduce stress – something we all have to contend with.
Google, eBay, Twitter and TfL are just a few of the large corporations who have adopted new techniques such as Mindfulness to try and reduce stress in the work place. In fact, TfL reported a 71% drop in stress-related sick days after rolling out the mindfulness programme.
So, we turned our phones off, placed our hands in our laps, and focussed on clearing our minds from the everyday monkey chatter that constantly babbles away.
Alexis took us through a series of 3 exercises:
Empty your mind for 1 minute, focus on your breathing.
There was an interesting response to this exercise, with some people being able to block out surrounding sounds and relax completely, whilst others struggled to control their minds and stop it from running away.
Movie of the Mind
– credit to Hope Bastine, Psychotherapist, Yoga, and Mindfulness teacher at www.freshperception.com
Imagining yourself walking into a cinema, taking a seat, and display any thoughts that run through your mind up on the screen.
It was interesting to hear people’s different visions here. Some people couldn’t think of anything specific and visualise it on the screen, whilst others found it methodical and calming. Some even felt some anxiety that their movie reel was running too fast or too slow. Some were alone, some with friends. Alexis pointed out, that not all the exercises are meant to work for everybody. We all have different minds, and the way that we react to different exercises will vary.
The Invisible Man
Take a deep breath and imagine the air flowing all the way down to your toes. As you exhale, feel your feet slowly dissolving away, leaving only an outline.
Talking to the participants afterwards, many found this exercise easier as they had Alexis’ voice to guide them through. It gave them something to focus on and stopped their mind from wandering. Everyone was surprised to find that the exercise they believed lasted only 5 minutes, actually lasted 16.
Runway East would like to thank Michael Acton Smith and Malcolm Scovil for helping to arrange the Mindfulness session with Alexis. The feedback has been very positive from all those who took part, with many looking at how they can bring Mindfulness into their working environment.