Take two minutes to teach mindfulness

A growing amount of attention has been given to mindful practices in the classrom. This week, The Guardian profiled what is happening in a UK school with positive effects:

“The whole process of mindfulness has the knock-on effect of making people more receptive and open,” Woods explains. “What we are trying to do is help them become more aware of themselves in a non-judgemental way. By the time the students leave in year six, they have an emotional intelligence and a set of skills that really equip them to cope with everyday life.”

Here are five resources to help introduce mindfulness into your classroom:

• Meditation for beginners

• Mindful mind skills

• 10 mindfulness exercises for the classroom

• Mindfulness and the art of chocolate eating

• A mindfulness relaxation exercise

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arbejdsglæde vs karoshi

Would you rather be Happy at Work or Worked to death?

Denmark, often ranked as one of happiest place on earth and one of the best countries to live on subscribe to arbejdsglæde, a Danish word meaning Happy at Work. Alexander Kjerulf explains, “ there is a word for it in Danish because Danish workplaces have a long-standing tradition of wanting to make their employees happy. To most Danes, a job isn’t just a way to get paid; we fully expect to enjoy ourselves at work.” . 

The Japanese, to contrast, have karoshi,  meaning to work oneself to death.  I first encountered karoshi during a  screening of Happy, the Movie. But the term first entered the Japanese lexicon in 1969 and gained popularity of usage in the 1980’s. The Chinese have a similiar term, guolaosi, as do the Koreans, gwarosa.

The Japan Times notes “A growing body of evidence indicates that workers in high-demand situations who have little control of their work and low social support are at increased risk of developing and dying of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction and stroke. Stressful work conditions are a critical component of this phenomenon.” The International Labor Organization profiles some typical cases:

Here are some typical cases of Karoshi:

  1. Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office.
  2. Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37.
  3. Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death.
  4. Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.

Happily, things are changing as lawsuits are forcing companies to change their ways least they be responsible for unlawful death payments. 

So how to pursue arbejdsglæde?

Check out the arbejdsglæde website for specific examples and tips.