4th March 2020

How mindfulness helps us be at our best

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Lauren Swarbrick

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At Abstrakt, like at most agencies, we move at pace. We (are lucky enough to) work with a wide range of diverse clients, all with their own unique requirements and different needs. We always have multiple projects running in tandem in the studio, each of which draw on different combinations of team members at different times. And we work to set dates on every project, so deadlines are constantly on the horizon.

It’s fast, it’s dynamic, it’s exciting. It pushes us, it drives us and it challenges us and we all LOVE it. But it can also be hugely stressful!

Layered on top of this potential pressure cooker-esque environment, is the motley crew nature of our team. Again, like in most agencies (and businesses) we are an eclectic bunch of individuals. Made up of strategists, creatives and developers, we are all very (very) different types of people, with different ways of thinking, working and communicating. We have all worked together for a long time now and have got to know how each other ticks. We have a huge amount of trust, respect and consideration for each other, but because we all think differently it’s vital that we regularly ensure that we are aligned and moving in the same direction.

To help us better tackle high-stress situations, recalibrate and rebalance the studio and foster an even deeper understanding between team members, team Abstrakt has recently completed an 8 week mindfulness in the workplace course.

During the course we learnt about:

  • Getting to grips with the foundations of mindfulness
  • Learning mindful techniques that instill calm, build resilience and reduce stress (both in the moment and in the long term)
  • Becoming aware of situations that trigger stress and how we can face difficulties head on
  • Recognising that thoughts are just thoughts - they are not who we are and they may not be truths
  • Understanding our actions and behaviour and its impact on others
  • Adopting a positive mindset, with a focus on wishing well, gratitude and joy

It’s been fascinating, as individuals we have all taken something slightly different out of the experience. But we have also learnt a lot about each other and collectively about us together as a team. This has helped us to support each other more effectively, which can only be a good thing!

I see an increasing understanding of the way the mind works and that you are all able to separate yourselves from your thoughts and observe them with interest and curiosity. This supports you as a team and as individuals to stay open, curious and creative in your work.

Mel Wright, Still Point Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness is very individual and we have all found that different techniques work best for each of us. However, we have adopted a number of activities as a group and have incorporated these into our weekly and daily lives in the studio.

The first of these is breathing space (taking a moment to concentrate on our breathing in order to reconnect with our bodies and calm our mind) and the second is mindful movement (using regular activities such as washing our hands, walking to get our lunch or making a cup of tea as an opportunity to stop the swirling of thoughts and to be present in the moment). We now also kick off our Monday morning production meeting with a short (3 or 5 minute) guided meditation to ground, calm and align us all before the busy week begins.

Mindfulness helps us be at our best every day, so we can support each other as a team, be happy and positive in the studio, think creatively and without barriers and ultimately to do our best work. It's a win win on all fronts.

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