Ep 98: Mindfulness - What It Is And Why It’s Important

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Ora Nadrich raises the alarm on the impact of stress that is taking its toll on our business and personal lives. Hear Ora explain what mindfulness is and why it’s increasingly important today. Learn several easy to implement techniques to help you manage people and stressful situations and to become more productive. HR leaders will benefit personally from this episode, as well as gain insights into HR's role in supporting others.
 
Ora Nadrich is Founder and President of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity. She is a certified life coach and mindfulness teacher who specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.
 
Listen (above) or watch the video (below) to catch Denise's interview with Ora Nadrich.
 

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Episode Transcript

Denise Yosafat:
Welcome everyone to HR Studio Podcast. I'm your host for today's episode, Denise Yosafat. Today we're going to be talking about how to transform the workplace from a place of stress into a place of joy. Joining us for this discussion is Ora Nadrich, and she is the Founder and President of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and Author of Live True, a Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity. A Certified Life Coach and Mindfulness Teacher, Ora specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers. So welcome Ora.

Ora Nadrich:
Hi Denise. Thank you so much for having me.

Denise Yosafat:
So I'm so excited about talking about mindfulness today and let's begin with the why. Why is mindfulness so important to us?

Ora Nadrich on HR Studio Podcast Ora Nadrich:
Well, mindfulness is the practice of being present. So why is it important to be present? Well, you can really ask yourself that question in all the areas of your life.

Ora Nadrich:
Why is it important for me to be present in this interview? Why is it important for me to be present with my relationships? Why is it important to be present when I'm in the workplace? I think that's a really important question to ask ourselves, which mindfulness helps us do. It is the inherent quality that we have. We just need to develop being more present. And by being more present, it really ameliorates a lot of the stresses that we're experiencing today.

Denise Yosafat:
And how does it do that? How do we reduce our stress by being more present?

Ora Nadrich:
Well, first of all, just being aware that we're stressed, before it blows up and it really starts to get worse, which is really what ends up happening, is that we go into what's called reactivity. And we don't want to go there. We want to stop that. And what mindfulness does is it helps us become more aware of, "Well, why am I being stressed? Why do I feel stress and what can I do to help myself, so I don't carry it into my relationships, I don't carry it into my workplace?" And that's when we start to come up with ways in which we can do better self-care. We can take care of ourselves, which millions of people are not so good at. Do you know? And that's really what mindfulness helps us with. It helps us be aware of what we're experiencing because we don't want to push that away.

Ora Nadrich:
We don't want to deny, pretend, thwart, push under the carpet what we're feeling. So if we're stressed, there's a lot of things we can do, even like simple breathing techniques that I teach. So that, let's just say before you get into the car and you get on the freeway, you go to your job, you're not carrying that stress with you into the work environment. There's a lot of tips and tools and techniques that we can use so that we give ourselves the time that we need to decompress so that we're not carrying and perpetuating stress out into our lives.

Denise Yosafat:
So in today's very fast-paced environment, where it's even more important to kind of take a timeout. How do we get that point across? How do we, if something is due quickly. How do we let people know it's okay.

Ora Nadrich:
You mean due quickly, like a deadline? Let's just say something related to work. [crosstalk 00:06:55] Obligations, expectations, commitments. There's a lot that's imposed on us and also that we self-impose on ourselves. So like I said, there are some great little things you can do preparing yourself. That means waking up in the morning, doing some breathing exercises. I love the counting, one to four breathing exercise. I can tell it to you in less than a minute.

Ora Nadrich:
Breathing in. Counting one, two, three, four, one, exhalation, one, two, three, four, two. Breathing in, one, two, three, fourth, three. Breathing out, one, two, three, four, four. Now that took less than a minute, and when I do that and have people join me do it, they immediately say to me, "Wow, I actually felt more relaxed." So let's say you're going in to do a presentation. You're about to do a PowerPoint. You're about to do something that's really stressful. What sometimes comes to the foreground of our psyche, of our thoughts is, "Oh my God, I'm going to be terrible.

Ora Nadrich:
I'm going to blow this. I'm nervous. That's real. Again, we don't want to push that aside. There's another wonderful technique that I have in my first book called Says Who, How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever, which is a technique called release and replace. And so let's just say you're about to go into that meeting and you're basically throwing yourself under the bus. By all of the myriad of thoughts, you tell yourself that you're not good enough [crosstalk 00:08:24], not going to do well enough. You can immediately take that thought, that's like really reverberating in the front of your mind and replace it with its positive counterparts.

Ora Nadrich:
So instead of saying, "I'm going to do miserably at this, I'm going to fail miserably." Say, "I got this, I'm going to do the best I can." That is such an easy technique that when we tell ourselves positive thoughts, it starts to seep into our subconscious and our subconscious takes its direction from us. So if we're feeding ourselves positive points and positive affirmations, our whole being is going to feel it. It's going to act accordingly. So I don't want people to think that, "Oh my God, these are such difficult things to do." You can start implementing this today. And it's rather simple.

Denise Yosafat:
And so what have you found in working with organizations when they can get mindfulness into the culture? What are some of the key differences you have found?

Ora Nadrich:
Well, I have found that there are businesses that are receptive to it. And then there are businesses that are not. Maybe because they don't really know it well yet, and they don't know what it looks like, and they don't know how to implement it. So I feel that it can be implemented in whatever work environment business that there is, big or small. I mean we know that some of the biggest, most successful organizations and corporations, some of them which shall remain nameless, the employees are stressed to the max. I mean I've heard horror stories about how employees are really not taken very seriously as far as valuing them. So what I would suggest to any company, any business, any boss, any CEO that's receptive to implementing this in their business, which by the way, I think that if you're doing that, you're ahead of the curve and that is going to be commonplace and it's going to be the new normal that, there are many ways in which you can do it.

Ora Nadrich:
Things like having your employees, maybe you have a conference room, maybe you have someplace by where the water cooler is and you can declare that as the breathing zone, human resources. It really is dependent on what the business is willing to do for their employees. And it can go up to just about anything. You could have a meditation room, you could have a mindfulness room, the company can be such so that if an employee starts to feel stressed, they can maybe go into a room and do some breathing exercises. I think some companies are worried that if they do that they're indulging their employees. Au contraire. You are enhancing your employees' work abilities, their performance abilities if you will. If you have a healthy, not stressed human being, they're going to be able to bring more to the situation. They're going to be able to contribute more to a cohesive working environment.

Denise Yosafat:
Right. And I think you mentioned that as some of the physical things that can be done, having meditation room, having a place where they can go and practice mindfulness. What are some that, you also mentioned HR. So what are some of the things that HR in its role can do?

Ora Nadrich on HR Studio PodcastOra Nadrich:
Well that they make it clear to the employees that that's really kind of brought into the environment so that if an employee is having a difficult time, they know that it's safe for them to go to HR and express to them what they're feeling, what they're going through. It's really important for that to be known. You don't want an employee that's so stressed out that it could actually be risky for them. You know? I mean, I think that you want to support your employees so that if they're carrying that stress into the job, that they know that there's a safe place where they can talk about it, and that they can be given even a couple of minutes to connect to what I say, connect to your core.

Ora Nadrich:
Like even in a chakra meditation that I do, your core is your solar plexus. You can do the breathing exercises, you can do visualization, you could do something called noting, which you're just noting the sounds around you. There are so many wonderful, valuable tools. So HR, if they're receptive and they're open, then they're going to be available to an employee that needs that.

Denise Yosafat:
Yeah. And a lot of times people come and they complain to HR, "Hey, this person is doing this or what?" But what you're saying is take it beyond that. Take those complaints, but have them practice mindfulness as a way to deal with some of that, deal with some of those emotions.

Ora Nadrich:
That's right. And let's just say there is a stressful dynamic going on between two employees, as the "he said, she said dynamic, or he said, he said, she said, she said", whatever it is, whatever that is for you. That maybe in HR what's great about being versed in mindfulness, which is something that can be taught to the administrators of a business, even HR so that they can call those two people in and they can process it mindfully with each other. Which doesn't mean that it's full of anger and resentment, that they're processing in a way that they can really practice the art of discourse. So that they can really hear each other and if one of them is having a problem that they're open and receptive to hearing how to take the dynamic into a more mindful place.

Denise Yosafat:
Right. And it really is a skill to learn how to deal with it that way.

Ora Nadrich:
It is. It really is. I mean I think people really just want to be heard. They want to be valued, they want to be supported. That doesn't mean it has to be indulged. It doesn't mean that the workplace has to be a therapy session. It doesn't have to be that. There are ways in which we can nip things in the bud that are mindfully done, so that we don't have the result of somebody who is really feeling so stressed they don't want to be on their job anymore. And then what you start to have is a revolving door and you start to have employees that are constantly in and out of a business. Like I said, some businesses are okay with that. It just is a matter of what standards that business adheres to. And I think mindfulness is the new golden standard to aspire to.

Denise Yosafat:
Right. And it really values the employee and what they're going through and how to increase their productivity by decreasing their stress.

Ora Nadrich:
Absolutely. And why wouldn't you want that? As I said, there are many different mindsets of the way businesses function, but what we know today that stress is at it's all-time high. We are in the throes of an opioid crisis. People are being medicated, they're not meditating, they're not practicing mindfulness. They're so stressed out that they need an immediate release of that. So, these are things that can help even get that under control. That people don't feel that they have to medicate, there's something that you can replace that with and it's called meditation. And that's a very valuable tool to implement, to reduce stress.

Denise Yosafat:
Yeah. And you talked about that we're at this all-time high in this opioid crisis. And talk about burnout a little bit. I mean, what is happening with our organizations?

Ora Nadrich:
Well, the World Health Organization just declared workplace burnout a disease. Now, if that isn't alarming, I don't know what it is. Once something is declared a disease, an illness, an epidemic, we have to ask ourselves, how we let that get to that point? That's very concerning. That means that so many people are stressed out in the workplace. The very thing that we're discussing and these tools, these helpful wellness tools, if you will, that by the way can be implemented. They can be implemented. It's not something that there's no real excuse for it not to be, that you can really address the fact that you have employees that are genuinely stressed out and it needs to be looked at.

Denise Yosafat:
Right. Right. So with this stress, and we were talking about workplace burnout. Talk about collaboration and how mindfulness helps with collaboration.

Ora Nadrich:
Collaboration is such an important word and what it really connotes I think is very useful and important in that. I always say "We're much more powerful and effective as we than we are as just me." So if I can bring the best of myself to a situation and I can collaborate with others, then we really are a cohesive collective that can do some pretty great things. Whether, again, it's in the workplace, it's productivity, it's creativity. So again, the mindful awareness of how can I bring forward the best of myself by practicing mindfulness, by practicing wellness and self-care.

Ora Nadrich:
Then I can bring that into a situation where I can work better with my coworkers, my co-employees if you will. And you can feel it when you're in those environments when there's this wonderful cohesiveness that everybody is working on the same level of focus and awareness. It's palpable. But it begins with each and every one of us. So in order to really optimize collaboration in the most productive way, we have to really focus on how do we bring that to the whole, to the collective.

Denise Yosafat:
Yeah. I love the idea of, it's palpable. I've walked into meetings where you could just, right from walking in, feel the tension in the room.

Ora Nadrich:
Exactly.

Denise Yosafat:
And so when you feel that, and when you're in a room with others, how do you deal with it in the moment?

Ora Nadrich:
That's a really good question because the tendency is, look, we're receptive, sensitive, porous. And some people are very empathic, so they really absorb the energy that is around them. And when there's a lot of stress and chaos, some people really feel it immediately. And so it's important not to go into reactivity. That's also practice because it's a visceral reaction. You feel the energy, it's palpable. Some people take it very personally. And what you need to do is, again, where mindfulness comes into play is having an awareness of, "Oh, I really feel the tension in the room right now. This has nothing to do with me. I'm going to try to dispel that energy, which is a negative energy, by bringing forward my positive energy." And if each and every one of us sets that intention, we really can start to dispel the negative energy.

Ora Nadrich:
It's an energy. At the end of the day, it's an energy. And another thing I want to say about that is that we have lived for so long under the myth, I would say that tension and stress can enhance productivity or creativity. Some people really believe that, that the more stressed out you are, you're like, you're going to work in such a heightened state of your adrenals that you're going to produce better. I don't believe that's true. I think you pay a price for that. I think you're really blowing your adrenals out. And there are people that you know, like that high, they're like, "Oh, I got to work under tension. I've got to work under friction. I've got to work under this sort of even underlying, negative competition with my coworkers." So I think we really need to check in with ourselves to find out where are we pulling our creative energy from? Is it healthy? Is it wholesome, is it productive? And is it really serving our wellbeing ultimately?

Denise Yosafat:
Right? And I think what you're saying is it's okay to be driven by a deadline, but don't be driven by the stress, creating the stress around that deadline. It's okay to have that deadline in mind and to work creatively towards accomplishing things before that deadline, but introducing stress into it is not necessary.

Ora Nadrich:
Well, you can be aware of a deadline, yes. But think about what happens, oftentimes when we feel this deadline, like hovering over us like a cloud or nipping at our heels. What starts to happen is the inner dialogue starts to become critical. And that's really what you want to be most aware of is that, "Yes, I'm aware that I have a deadline." And start to support yourself by telling yourself thoughts that you will fulfill the time that you need to get something done by, as opposed to starting the negative self-talk. That's when stress kicks in and starts to kick in the negative inner critical dialogue. We want to be aware of that, not to do that, and to counter it with positive supportive self-talk.

Denise Yosafat:
So let's talk about some other positives. You talk about noting. Tell us more about noting and what that's all about.

Ora Nadrich:
Noting is another thing that you can use really easily. I mean some of these things you can do right at your desk at work. Noting is, it's like note to self, which I have in Live True at the end of each chapter. I have something called note to self. It's like the takeaway, but bringing noting into the workplace is having an awareness like "Okay, my boss is in a bad mood today. I don't have to react to that. That's not something I need to take personally." "Oh, my coworker was just rude to me." You're noting, whether it's thoughts that you're having or even bodily sensations. "Oh, I'm feeling tension in my stomach. Am I nervous? What can I do to help myself get less nervous? Maybe do a couple of those breathing exercises. Take a couple of deep breaths in and out."

Ora Nadrich:
You start to become very nimble, if you will, in knowing what it is to do, to take care of yourself in a moment. Some noting is again, having the awareness of what's going on with you and what's going on around you so that you're not in constant reactive mode with everything. Because we're out in the world and there's a lot of stimuli around us and there are other people in other personalities and other temperaments, so we want to note that. Be aware of it and not feel that we have to react to it or judge it. That's another thing. We tend to default to judgment pretty quickly.

Denise Yosafat:
And with that judgment comes false assumptions often.

Ora Nadrich:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So if you can stay in that neutral state, which I know is a challenge, this takes practice by the way. The more you practice this, this is self-regulation, this is mental discipline. These are skills that we need to develop with ourselves so that we can be somebody who doesn't get pushed with every wind that comes our way. That again, we're not in constant reactive mode. It makes us more the observer if you will.

Ora Nadrich:
And so noting really does put you in the role of the observer. It's like you're just aware of what's around you. These are, by the way, skills and techniques and tools are used in something like meditation. Not everybody meditates, I understand that. So how do you take that... Which is something like even in meditation, one of the things that is suggested is to be aware of your thoughts and to think of them like clouds that are moving across the sky. They come in and they go out. So you can take some of these wonderful pearls and implement that in your workplace, or in any moment of your life.

Denise Yosafat:
Ah, so when you talk about taking the wonderful pearls, let's talk about programs that HR runs. They'll have a mindfulness program and people will feel good, and then they'll come out and not really use those pearls longterm. So how can we get mindfulness into the culture, really embedded into the culture?

Ora Nadrich:
Well, as we know, being a self-starter, it really is with us. Our level of self-care is really dependent on how much we're willing to invest in that and commit to that. So we really can't expect everybody to hold our hand in that process. Do you know what I mean? We've got to take responsibility. So as somebody who really wants to practice mindfulness and implement it into their life, which is so beneficial for a myriad of reasons, then you're able to then take it wherever you go and you're consistent. We know about consistency. You want to lose weight, you got to exercise. It's not going to just come flying through the window. And I think that that's something that we have to be aware of that yes, it's great if a business or HR or a boss starts each day where the collective, the team comes together and they check in with each other.

Ora Nadrich:
Where they do maybe a mindfulness meditation together. But that might not be the case for you and your business. So it's really incumbent upon us to make sure that we, when we wake up in the morning, I say from the minute you wake up in the morning, check-in with self. Check-in with yourself, connect to your breath. Be grateful that you're alive and you're breathing. Set your intentions for the day. What do you want to bring into the workplace?

Ora Nadrich:
These are wonderful self-help tools that we can do, that we can implement so that we're not always waiting or dependent on others to do it for us. We need to step it up, we need to step up. Excuse me. We need to really raise our awareness about how important, excuse me, these things are. If you have something like workplace burnout, and you have something like an opioids crisis, what more neon signs do we need to see to know that we need to... It's a call to action. So what I say in my book Live True, what I do with my today and what you do with your today affects all of the todays. It's like a reverberating effect. So we need to take responsibility.

Denise Yosafat:
Right. And it sounds like it can start even before you get into the workplace, and then in the workplace continue. So you have the individual and then you have the systemic-

Ora Nadrich:
Absolutely. And ideally, really my recommendation is that everybody sort of get on board for practicing it when they start their day. Because what you're doing is you're setting a tone for the rest of the day. Okay. Do you know what I mean? It's like you're, these are the types of things that you implement that really carry you through the day, becomes your jumpstart. It's a very healthy, productive jumpstart and it becomes a habit. And once you start to create what I call healthy thinking habits, you start to default to them and from a neuroscientific point of view, we really want to create new neural pathways so that we can default to, this becomes a new way of thinking. "How do I set my mindfulness bar today?" I have something in my book Live True called raise your consciousness challenge. What did you do today to raise your consciousness? What did you do today to raise your awareness? That's mindfulness in motion.

Denise Yosafat:
Yeah. And so there's a lot of things it sounds like we can do and we don't have to do them all, but what is right for each one of us it sounds.

Ora Nadrich:
Find your balance. This is a personal journey. Ultimately, this is something that we all have to find our own inner rhythm, our truth, our authenticity. That's what my book is about. And it's how to be present in the moment as truly who you are, the authentic self. So this is a personal discovery. And I think when you make a commitment to better your life for self care, to bring the best of yourself to every situation, including the workplace, you start to create healthy thinking habits. And that is really the basis of transformational thinking, which is really the essence of my work.

Denise Yosafat:
Which is a great place to end because I think creating those healthy habits is what we want people to have, both for their personal and their professional lives.

Ora Nadrich:
Absolutely. And you can begin today. This is the great thing about mindfulness is that you can start today. It doesn't cost you anything. You don't need to go anywhere. I even wrote an article about taking mindfulness when you travel. You don't have to pack it, bring it with you wherever you go.

Denise Yosafat:
There you go. You can bring it to Europe. You don't have to worry about the weight limit on the suitcase. Right?

Ora Nadrich:
Exactly. Exactly. Yes.

Denise Yosafat:
Well thank you Ora, for enlightening us with some of the mindfulness, the why's, and the how's. And I think it's very important in thinking of today's workforce and the stress and how we can reduce that stress and be more productive and HR's role and how they can help as well. So thank you.

Ora Nadrich:
Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

Denise Yosafat:
I want to take a moment and reach out to our listeners, our podcast listeners. If you are not a subscriber yet to HR Studio Podcast, you can become one by going to hrstudiopodcast.com. You'll be notified of new episodes. Also there you'll find our speakers, all the social handles you want, their Twitter, their Instagram, all that information. And I also am thankful that Ora is offering to one lucky listener, a PDF of her book, Live True, a Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity. And so I encourage all of us to go out and be our authentic selves and once again, thank you to Ora.

Ora Nadrich:
Thank you.

Denise Yosafat:
Take care everyone.


 
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Date: 
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 8:00am
Industry: 
Consulting
Host: 
Denise Yosafat
Guest: 
Ora Nadrich
Type: 
HR Studio Podcast