2. Positive emotions and mindfulness: Transcript.
28 April, 2012
Rachel in Dr Richard Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Meditation, Mindfulness, Positive emotions

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute.

On our emotional intelligence YouTube channel we have an emotional intelligence video on positive emotions and mindfulness. This is the transcript of the key points of the session made by both myself and Michael Done.

If you haven't seen the video yet, you can watch it now.


Rachel: Meditation is a way of cultivating positive emotions.

Mike: I thought meditation was a religious practice or very esoteric kind of stuff. You're bringing it right out into the day-to-day world and translating it into improvements and changes in people's emotional experience of life.

Rachel: Yes, Richard Davidson in the USA, a researcher in neuroscience is taking brain scans of people who've meditated and not meditated and finding there are significant differences in their brain functioning. He's found positive differences and that people develop a happier state of mind. This is not airy-fairy, mumbo jumbo. This is a scientifically verified technique for developing positive emotions.

I teach it in our positive emotions seminar because it is something that almost everyone can learn to do. And you can do just a little bit at a time in the workplace. You don't have to go on a 9 day meditation retreat. You could just do a five minute mindfulness meditation during your lunch break and feel greater calm, relaxation and contentment. All of these are very useful emotions in the busy world of our workplaces.

Mike: I went through your body scan meditation this morning; it is very easy to do just sitting in traffic. It didn't take me into some hyperspace somewhere. You don't have to go into a special chamber, room or space. This practice can be used in my office, or in my car right there and then.

Rachel: Please don't listen to our meditation MPs while driving. There is a danger you might fall asleep, but thanks for the positive feedback. You're an experienced meditator so less likely to feel sleepy, but a beginner may easily fall asleep.

Often when people start a mindfulness meditation practice they fall asleep. Meditation is about alertness combined with relaxation. Beginners often get the relaxation bit first and start to nod off.

Want to learn how to meditate? Our professionally produced recordings "Happy not hassled" explain how to meditate, what to do if you think you can't and how to manage your emotions through meditation, and they include four guided meditations of different lengths and types so you can practise in the comfort of your own home.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart

Mike: What else can I do?

Rachel: You can do a walking meditation where you are aware of how your feet are touching the ground. If you practise walking meditation and walk mindfully at work it is good for you. Firstly, you don't bump into people so it's good for occupational health and safety issues. It also brings you back down to a point of calm.

The whole thing about cultivating positive emotions is that when you are calm and content other positive emotions are more likely to arise in you and you are more likely to move towards happiness, or feeling pleasant, delight or enthusiasm at work. Enthusiasm is really useful to have at work.

I know of someone, a lawyer, who practises mindfulness meditation in a cupboard in his lunch hour. He gets a boost of extra energy for the afternoon. What happens is that he clears his mind, and calms it down.

What meditation is, is developing a single point of concentration. As you develop that point of concentration all the worries, anxieties, regrets, anger and frustration actually ease. The more you focus on this point the clearer your mind gets. If you do this in your lunch-break you are going into the afternoon with greater energy, a clearer mind and a revamped concentration.

You'll therefore cultivate positive emotions far more easily in that way than if you sat in the staff room bitching about the nasty customers you had that morning.

Mike: When you say clearing the mind, the word that came to my mind was uncluttering. A lot of the clutter is not actually the thing that is in front of me, it's all the noise, secondary concepts, words and memories that I bring into the picture. Sometimes when I'm meditating I am needing to bring my attention back into just what is here, now. A lot of that noise therefore dissipates and I discover that what I thought I was carrying through the day really isn't as heavy or as burdensome as I thought it was. It is just that I added a lot of load in all of the associations that go with it. It's an interesting experience to find clutter leaving as you become more focussed on what is truly here and really here.

Rachel: And how many of us become cluttered and overwhelmed by our workloads and all the demands that are made on us day in and day out. You go in, the 'phone rings, someone walks into your room, you've got to go to a meeting, a customer arrives. You have to deal with a complaint, the 'phone goes again, it's this frenetic pace.

So if you have 10 minutes of calm, in the middle of the day, and with single pointed concentration, all of that eases. Then you are revitalised. Then the positive emotions arise in that space.

This is important. Mindfulness is about generating energy, concentration, focus and positive emotions. So the negative emotions ease and give way to the positive ones. You can then take all this into your workplace.

Imagine all the people in your workplace being in a really good space, having energy the whole afternoon to deal with whatever is going to happen. Instead of being worn out because the morning has been so frenetic. And that's the value of using mindfulness and meditation in the workplace.

Mike: And one of your techniques, is built right into our bodies, the breath meditation. It's there literally every second. Even five seconds at a time we can go into our breath and just get some of the benefits, between 'phone calls even.

Rachel: Or, while the computer is rebooting. There's another meditation on the MP3s "Happy not hassled". We won't talk about it much here but Barbara Fredrickson has done research on it to prove it develops positive emotions. It's loving-kindness meditation.

Just so you know, there are different meditations and they each have a different effect on people. You can choose different ones according to your state of mind and how you are feeling.

What matters about meditation is that you do have to practise it. That's when you really get the positive emotions developing.

Have you ever felt stressed, anxious or tense and wanted to relax? Or maybe you keep going over and over things in your mind and all you want is peace and calm? Yes! Mindfulness and meditation can help you relax and let go of worry, anxiety and tension.

Learn how to meditate now. Our professional recordings "Happy not hassled" will guide you through four different meditations and give you instructions on how to meditate and how to use meditation to manage your emotions.

MP3s: $29 (US). Add to Cart
Article originally appeared on The Emotional Intelligence Institute (http://www.theeiinstitute.com/).
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