• Dr. Francis Yoo

Why Mindfulness doesn't work and how to make it work

Mindfulness is all the buzz right now, not just for physician wellness but also in corporate America (as per my friend AM).

Unfortunately, mindfulness does not work the way it is currently perceived and executed by many American organizations. This is because the perception of mindfulness is creating another required EVENT or TIME SLOT for

- yoga

- massage

- walks on the beach - kara'o'ke

- meditation

- making art by rolling in (non-toxic) paint with our naked bodies then plopping on a blank canvas.

I am not against any of these things... especially that last one, but this is not mindfulness - this is just giving employees time to escape from their normal duties and have a "breather" before going back to work.

Mindfulness is about being "present"... but I tell you, a person can do any of the things on the list above and NOT be "present."

Mindfulness is not an event that goes into a time slot... although I do believe setting time apart specifically to focus on it is important.

Mindfulness is a way of being, a culture, a combination of patterns of emotions, thoughts, and actions. It is visible in the values of an organization and needs to be one of its true goals for the work culture and employees, and not a "oh by the way we should stock up on those fish that eat dead skin off people's feet and put them in the employee lounge because people will dig that and be less sad and anxious about working here."

If the hospital's culture is not one of mindfulness, or if the company itself does not promote a work place that emphasizes mindfulness, events of kara'o'ke beach yoga will only be effective for the day of that event... if you're lucky.

On an individual level you can also chase after new meditation styles, that aroma or sound therapy, that retreat or this or that or this... but if there is no foundation of living with mindfulness on a regular basis those programs or events are not that helpful.

Is your "mindfulness" just a program or event cause a temporary "feel good" moment? Or is it a part of a true appreciation for being "present?"

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