The Wainwright House’s inaugural Mindfulness at Work Summit paved the path towards achieving a satisfying and meaningful work experience in a fast-paced, often overwhelming work world. Attending the October 22nd summit were independent consultants, freelancers and corporate employees from Westchester County and beyond looking for ways to combat workplace stressors, revitalize their workdays and flourish at their jobs. “I left feeling so refreshed and energized,” said attendee Arlene Brown of New York Life.
The half-day gathering featured mini-workshops where participants learned to enhance focus and creativity through simple mindfulness techniques and to take a deeper look at their workplace’s culture in order to be responsive leaders. Breakout sessions included gentle yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Mindful Parenting for Working Parents.
“Attendees walked away with a deeper understanding of how mindfulness can impact their work lives for the better along with concrete skills and strategies that they can put to use at work,” said Laurie Jordan, Wainwright’s program coordinator.
“The most effective way to understand mindfulness and its benefits is by actually experiencing it,” said Jackie Frederick-Berner, summit presenter and mindfulness meditation instructor. “The summit gave people the opportunity to see how mindfulness practices can help them break through habitual ways of thinking in order to make positive and informed choices.”
Participants also experienced how mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with developing leadership capabilities. “Our definition of leadership is evolving in today’s organization. We want leaders who are compassionate and nurturing,” said Joyce Schroeder, summit presenter and founder of Flourishing Culture Consultants. “Since our actions spring from the inside out, it is important for leaders to do a lot of internal work and they got the chance to explore that process of looking inward in my session.”
Research has shown that daily mindful practices reduce anxiety, improve attention and increase gray matter in the brain regions involved in memory and learning, emotional regulation, mind wandering and keeping things in perspective. All of these benefits can pave the way toward a happier, more productive and fulfilling work life.
Cultivating mindfulness at work is core to Wainwright House’s mission. The center’s roots run deep when it comes to bringing purpose and value to work life. In the 1950s, it was the hub for the Layman’s Movement whose aim it was to encourage spiritual values in the workplace. “While it wasn’t called mindfulness back then,” said Board Trustee, Patricia Goodwin-Peters, in her welcoming remarks, “the goal of fostering meaningful connection to one’s self and one’s co-workers is the same.”
The Wainwright House, located at 260 Stuyvesant Avenue, Rye, NY, is dedicated to the development of human potential and is the oldest, non-profit, non-sectarian, holistic learning center in the country. The next free event, Mindfulness at Work: Practices to Start the Journey, will take place on January 22, 2020, from 8 to 10:45 a.m. Register at wainwright.org or by calling the Wainwright House at 914-967-6080. The summit is free of charge.