Dr Nico Rönpagel from WEVOLVE offers mindfulness-based training programmes for companies. He has given sowohntberlin an insight into the topic of mindfulness and presents simple exercises for everyday life in times of working from home and digital communication.
Mindfulness – for myself and others
Mindfulness always begins with yourself, in other words, with an increased awareness of your own thoughts, body and feelings. In principle, you learn to develop a benevolent attention and attitude towards yourself. Even if mindfulness begins with yourself, it does not end here. On the contrary, mindfulness is a social practice that helps us to become more aware of other people and their moods and needs. For example, empathy and compassion towards colleagues are enormously important in order to work together with joy, trust and confidence. Especially in these challenging times, in which we are interacting mainly electronically, mindfulness-based methods can help to strengthen unity within the team. The following exercises are suggestions and can be developed further individually and creatively.
Mindfulness – for myself
1. Simply take a breath every now and then!
Take a few deep breaths before you write your next email or pick up the phone. Sit upright and relaxed and close your eyes. Give your breath a rhythm, count to four when inhaling and six when exhaling. As you inhale, you take in strength, as you exhale, you let go.
2. Give yourself breaks
The more connected you are to your body and your emotions, the easier it is for you to feel when you are tense or something doesn’t feel right to you. If you are more mindful and sensitive, you will not try and take everything on at once; you will realise more quickly: “Okay, I need a break now.” Get moving or do something that gives you energy or rest.
3. A personal source of strength
Developing a personal morning ritual in which you do something good for yourself is very rewarding. This can be yoga, a mindful walk or meditation with an app. Just five or ten minutes of a daily routine like this can be a source of strength in your everyday life. Be disciplined and at the same time be kind to yourself. Make this “appointment with yourself” your most important appointment of the day! The best thing is to make it very early before you even look at your phone for the first time.
Mindfulness – as part of a team
1. Cultivating a positive attitude
When we become aware that colleagues, partners and customers share the same situation and challenges, we can increase our empathy, understanding and compassion. Through a feeling of “togetherness”, we can develop an optimistic way of thinking and see positive effects regarding the new situation. If we encourage each other as a team to honestly share how we feel and deal with the new situation, we can encourage solidarity and compassion among ourselves.
2. Establishing mindful communication
Regular, authentic and transparent communication among colleagues and supervisors helps to maintain trust and avoid uncertainty. This also includes the ability to listen to the experiences, difficulties and needs of others. It’s about showing understanding and compassion for their situation. An atmosphere of trust and solidarity can also be consolidated if employees and managers are honest e.g. when talking about their own challenges in dealing with working from home and family.
3. Supporting social connections via digital channels
Digital communication can contribute to a feeling of separation between colleagues and teams. However, using these channels creatively and sensitively can also support social connections. For example, sharing our videos in online conversations creates a more personal atmosphere. Shorter meetings (e.g. 20 instead of 30 minutes) help us focus. Regular informal meetings, such as virtual coffee breaks or a digital after-work drink, can maintain social connections. Furthermore, teams can jointly develop creative formats, e.g. walking meetings in the fresh air. The team atmosphere can also be supported by targeted online formats for well-being, such as meditation, yoga or group coaching.
3 questions for Dr Nico Rönpagel
We live in an incredibly complex and fragmented world. At the same time, we long for peace and connectedness. The question of meaningfulness also preoccupies more and more people who want to balance their personal growth with their professional work and social views. As an alternative to an accelerated world of consumerism, mindfulness and meditation offer means of self-care and create a healing space for self-perception and reflection.
What does mindful self-management mean?
Sustainable management always starts with myself. Mindful self-management means that I (1) recognise my own needs and resources, (2) develop clarity regarding my values and goals and (3) consciously make decisions and actions accordingly. This includes cultivating a benevolent attitude towards myself.
What does this deceleration bring? What happens in the body when I focus more on and engage with these everyday things?
We are frequently driven by external stimuli and goals and ignore our current needs – and our body tells us exactly what is good for us and what is not. Therefore, it might be that we work until we are exhausted and only realised how tense our neck is at the end of a working day. If we now develop a higher level of body awareness, we will feel when something “gets on our nerves” or “a lump is stuck in our throat” sooner. As mindfulness practice progresses, we develop not only an understanding of our unconscious thought and behavioural patterns, but also practical methods for developing new compassionate patterns.
Titelfoto © Joe-L / Adobe Stock
Illustrationen © Karo Gorman-Rigaud