Zen Blog

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”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Director of Operations

Come join the dynamic team at Mindful—a mission-driven media company that is dedicated to sharing mindfulness and meditation practices to support good health, positive relationships and a more compassionate society. We publish Mindful Magazine and direct its associated websites, newsletters, events, directories and courses. With a monthly audience of over two million, this is a chance to make a real impact. You’ll enjoy our positive, flexible and collaborative work culture. 

We’re seeking a Director of Operations based in our Halifax, Nova Scotia office. The ideal candidate will be comfortable overseeing several areas of the business, including office operations, human resources, and business development, interfacing with marketing, advertising and finance, and providing leadership and support to the staff based in Halifax. 

You’ll thrive in an ever-changing, fast-paced environment that requires thinking on your feet and frequent reprioritization, and be able to find creative solutions to challenges. You’ll have strong people skills, good organizational ability and enjoy both working in collaboration and executing decisions when needed. 

Key Responsibilities:

Oversee operations of Halifax office and proactively provide support across business areas to promote smooth operational functioning and departmental integration.Serve as a main operational support and advisor to the CEO.Oversee development of online learning courses (learning.mindful.org), including contracts, content development, marketing and finances. Work in close collaboration with marketing team on promotional partnerships and campaigns.Develop and/or project manage business partnerships.Serve as human resource director.Supervise office administrative staff.Any other duties as required.

Qualifications and skills:

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A Kindness Practice for Families

Empathy is declining in our children. Recently, researchers surveyed 10,000 middle- and high-school students—eighty per cent reported personal achievement was more important to them than caring for other people.

It’s neurologically impossible to be both stressed out, and really loving and kind at the same time.

What’s at the heart of this crisis in compassion? Too much screen time, for one. Stress is another factor. The hormone oxytocin, responsible for connecting and bonding us to our kids, giving us that warm, fuzzy feeling during caregiving—that hormone works on the same receptors in the brain as cortisol, the stress hormone. And therein lies the tension: It’s neurologically impossible to be both stressed out, and really loving and kind at the same time.

This is an informal mindfulness practice that you can do with your family. It’s the basis of most compassion and empathy training. You can do this practice on birthdays, or when other opportunities to make wishes come around. You can also use this practice to wind down before bed.

To begin, find a comfortable sitting position. You can even place a hand on the heart. Allow your eyes to close or lower your gaze toward the floor.Bring to mind someone who you really respect and look up to, and who really loves you in return. Notice how you feel as you bring this person to mind.Make a kind wish and send it their way. What would make them happy?Next, bring to mind someone else you love and care about: A family member, a friend, a beloved colleague. Just bring this person to mind, sending this person a kind wish.We’ll move from here to a more neutral person. Perhaps someone you don’t know very well: A parent you see occasionally in the pick-up line, a person who delivers your mail, or makes your coffee in the morning. Just bring this person to mind and imagine yourself sending them some kind of kind wish.Lastly, bring to mind someone who has frustrated you lately, someone who is a little difficult. Send this last person a kind wish—something nice for them in their life.Check in with your mind and body as you conclude this practice. Allow your eyes to open if they’ve been closed. Notice if there’s any shift.

The point of is: We don’t have to be perfectly loving beings at all times. We don’t have the psychological, financial, or genetic resources to literally treat everyone as we treat our own child—let alone treat our own child as we’d always like to. Instead, we strive to do our best and aim for that middle path: loving, caring, and acts of kindness. Because compassion, and even self-compassion, runs in families. I encourage you to find ways to practice compassion. What you do now will make a difference for future generations.

Original author: Christopher Willard
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Five Common Work Challenges Mindfulness Can Improve

Mindfulness can easily be thought of as a retreat from the outsized challenges leaders often face. But when things get tough, that’s when your mindfulness practice actually shines. Here’s how taking the time to ask yourself what’s actually happening can make or break your work day.

1) Things get hot in a meeting and emotions take over

Response: If you ask yourself, “What outcome do I truly want here?” you may be able to see your true aim more clearly and defuse the excess emotion that may be getting in the way. It’s not about doing away with passion and emotion; it’s about assessing how to spend the precious resource of your—and everyone else’s—mental energy.

2) Distraction keeps you from accomplishing important things

Response: When you have that feeling of being lost, you can inquire, “Where is the most important place for my focus and energy to be right now?” To help promote deep focus, try creating a 90-minute block on your calendar (say in the form of a faux doctor’s appointment)—that is your untouchable focus time.

3) A negative mindsets shut down situations

Response: Ask questions of yourself and others that lead to solutions or at least greater understanding, not blame and recrimination: “What can we learn? What’s possible here? What are our strengths? What can we build on? What can we leave behind?”

4) You take over too much—perhaps because you want to be the hero who fixes everything

Response: This is a prescription for burning yourself out while undermining others’ opportunities to learn and become empowered. You need to ask, “Why am I really doing this? Does ‘helping’ make me feel important?”

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Three Things That Get in the Way of Making Good Decisions

We’re faced with dozens of decisions all day long. Most of the choices we need to make in the average day are no big deal, like deciding whether we need a jacket before we leave the house. But even when they won’t matter in the long run, small choices made at a bad moment can be inconvenient—we’ve all been caught in the rain, wishing for that jacket we left at home. And when we have big choices like whether or not to accept a new job, end a relationship, or move houses, the stakes are even higher.

In this 5-minute video, Braincraft host Vanessa Hill dips into psychology research to highlight the factors that impact our choices. Here are three reasons we make the wrong decisions, and the solutions to take your decision-making confidence to the next level: 

1. You choose something you’ve already invested in, even if it’s not the best option

“We like to think that we always make rational decisions, but science shows that’s not always the case,” Hill explains. Take, for example, what’s known as the sunk-cost bias. This psychological phenomenon refers to our tendency “to choose something we’ve invested time or money in, even if it’s not the best for our future wealth or happiness,” says Hill.

For example, say you are waiting for an Uber to get to a meeting, but it’s late—you could hail a cab or catch the bus instead, but then you’ll have to pay the Uber’s cancellation fee on top of bus or cab fare. Since you’ve already called and paid for the Uber, you decide to stick with it, even though arriving late to your meeting will make you look bad.

Fortunately, researchers have found that practicing mindfulness meditation for just 15 minutes increases our resistance to the sunk-cost bias. Researchers found that meditation helped people to make smarter decisions, regardless of previous events. So the next time you feel stuck between options, take a minute to focus before making a snap judgement.

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Mindfulness May Reduce Stress for Students of Color

We’ve long known that racism and  discrimination negatively impact the mental health and well-being of ethnic minorities. A new study shows that a combination of compassion-focused meditation and psychoeducation may help to relieve race-related stress and improve mental health among Asian college students in the US. 

Racism on college campuses received increasing attention in recent years. Studies showthat students of color often feel the effects of race-related stress the most, with many experiencing depression and anxiety as well as difficulties keeping up with their studies. To address this problem, researchers at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, conducted a pilot study to see if an intervention that included compassionate meditation might make a difference. 

Ten undergraduate students of Asian heritage, who reported high levels of race-related stress, attended the program. None of these students had a background in meditation, and 90% reported experiencing major depression within the past two weeks.

The 8-week intervention, “Using Compassionate Meditation to Heal from Race-Related Stress,” combined principles from cognitive-behavioral therapy such as countering every negative thought with three positive ones, education regarding the impacts of anger and compassion, and mindfulness practices such as meditative deep breathing. It was taught by two Asian-American undergraduate students (peer leaders) who were trained and supervised by a licensed clinical psychologist. 

Students reported notable decreases in psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and trauma-related symptoms such as disturbing memories, physical reactions, and difficulty concentrating.

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