Mindfulness by Shirley Anstis

With Mindfulness becoming more common in workplaces, here are some thoughts by Shirley Anstis, Christian Counseller

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn is considered the instigator of bringing mindfulness to western science through establishing the Stress Reduction Clinic for research and practice at University of Massachusetts.

Since these beginnings the evidence to support the effectiveness of mindfulness has been overwhelming. Mindfulness has been recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent recurring depression.

Kabat- Zinn’s definition is that mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally.” It is neither Christian nor Buddhist but about how our brain works.

Being more mindful can help us connect more to our compassion, be more courageous and curious. Mindfulness practice helps to develop a beginner’s mind.

Studies have linked regular mindfulness meditation with decrease in anxiety, depression and irritability. It can also help to increase mental and physical stamina, improve quality of relationships and immune functioning.

These half-an-hour sessions offer an opportunity to pause, be more present to your internal and external world, and let go. It is not about acquiring any state. Practicing mindfulness helps to improve clarity and focus. Only an experience will help you to know if it is for you. Try it and see.

P.S. It is not suitable for you if you are in the middle of a deep depression, OCD, anxiety or any psychotic state. That would require one-to-one sessions with a therapist or psychiatrist.

What are Christian Workplace Groups? by Matt Aldridge

 

As the name suggests, Christian Workplace Groups (CWGs) are groups of Christians that meet within their workplaces to worship, pray and bless not only their colleagues but the wider organisation. CWGs are to be a positive impact in the workplace, supporting other believers and looking to bring the Good News of Jesus into an otherwise secular environment.

 

Many groups start as individuals that take a step of faith and search out other Christians within their workplaces for prayer, support and discussion. As the group grows and becomes more established they can look to request formal recognition by their employers as a diversity network through the organisations diversity and equality policies. Through formal recognition, the CWG can look be a shining light in the darkness.

 

Why do they matter?

 

In the same way Jesus equipped his disciples through the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel throughout the world, we believe he is calling us to see the workplace as a key mission field. CWG’s are an effective vehicle by which we can disciple the workplace. Many of us work with hundreds of co-workers who have little to no concept that Jesus loves and died for them. Will they hear this in the gym, supermarket or social gathering? God is transforming workplaces and lives through Christian Work Groups and his followers in the workplace. To understand why Christian Workplace Groups matter, we should ask ourselves:

 

Where is my frontline?

Is God interested in my 9-5 work life?

Where will my faith have the most impact?

Where do I have most personal contact with those outside Church?

 

If the answer to many of these questions is the workplace then why not start or join a CWG and become a workplace disciple.

If you want to start a CWG or help with your group, come to one of our networking events or contact Matt@readingatwork

Matt Aldridge has recently joined the Transform Work UK team and will be working alongside us in Reading at Work

 

 

I grew up in the New Forest in a Village called Lyndhurst and gave my life to the Lord at an early age. After attending an Alpha Course about eight years ago, the Holy Spirit revealed to me through the Book of John that I was to focus my life on loving God with all my heart and to show his love to those I encountered. 

 

After working for a Publishing company in Basingstoke for seven years my job transferred to Kings Cross. What appeared to be a short term inconvenience to my career plans in fact turned out to be part of Gods bigger plan for my life! Whilst working in Kings Cross I attended the lunch time ministries run by St Helens at Bishopsgate at a pub in Kings Cross station. It was during this time that God gave me a heart for workplace ministries. From receiving colleagues turn down invitations to church based events I found they did attend the lunchtime gatherings where they would hear the gospel in familiar surroundings. 

 

After  my time at Kings Cross had come to an end I started working for my current employer Quintiles on the Reading Green Park business Park. From putting out Facebook messages and meeting with Jamie Carter from Carey Baptist I was introduced to Dave Law at Reading at Work and Transform Work UK. Through Gods provision and guidance the small  group at Green Park continues to grow and God has placed on my heart that I should serve him through the work at Transform work UK.

 

 

At Reading at Work, often our focus is on Christian Workplace Groups, but what if you are not in a position to attend a group, maybe you are the only Christian in a small company or you are a sole trader or maybe your work is field based and you could never get into the office where the group meets?

 

The answer could be to take it to church...

 

What do I mean by this? Well we know that we are to pray about all things and that we don't need to be following a particular structure, so why not get together with others in your church together who are in a similar situation and organise a time for you to meet and pray.

 

I doubt that there would be any church leaders who truly seek the kingdom who would not bless another opportunity for members of their church to come together in prayer (especially if they don't need to be involved) and give them somewhere to pray

 

This is one of the key things that we did with Reading at Work. We started 7 years ago one morning a month in a church meeting room at 7am, after a couple of years we moved to lunchtime in a Christian charities meeting room before moving to our current location in the upstairs room at Abbey Baptist Church in Reading.

We got people together who wanted to pray for their workplaces and we prayed. From this we saw budgets balanced where they wouldn't have, new clients coming when times were tough and numerous other blessings

 

It is correct to realise that in talking about prayer, although the most important, is only part of what a good Christian Workplace Group does.

So a church based work prayer group also has a wider remit than just prayer and so expect that your church leader will take an interest once the group meets regularly. The group may be asked to help the rest of the church to think about being a Christian at work or to leads the wider church in prayer for workplaces

 

So find someone to pray with, find a time when you can meet regularly and pray

Where does your faith have the most impact?

(or What is Reading at Work?)

 

Where does your faith have the most impact?  This was a question that caused us to form Reading at Work. Is the one hour a week that you spend teaching Sunday school or the three hours a week you help at the food bank the most significant part of your witness?

 

Whilst this is an important part of building the kingdom, for many people the unrealised part of their witness is the 37 hours a week they spend at work.  

 

At Reading at Work we started by asking ourselves the question, if Jesus is Lord of my life, surely he must be interested in what I do Monday to Friday 9-5.