The Mindful Futures Network has been launched, to do something that has not been done anywhere else in the world.
The Network, which has already attracted over 350 members, will chart across an entire nation how innovations in mindfulness, empathy and compassion can contribute to the health and proficiency of public and private organisations.
“While the vision statements of most governments and businesses articulate values of professionalism, compassion, responsiveness, and empathic leadership, the reality of the lived experience of their employees and clients is often quite different,” Dr Reeder said.
Insight into this disconnect is offered through advances in neuroscience and psychology which are revealing the way our minds and emotions work, and the impacts on organisational culture and processes.
Self-awareness and emotion regulation improve complex decision-making
While there is still much to learn about the ongoing processes of the human brain and how the mind evaluates our behaviour and influences our actions, it is already clear that improving levels of self-awareness and emotion regulation is becoming more important.
- The skill of mindfulness which delivers improved mental clarity and emotional health;
- The competency of empathy which delivers improved perspective–taking for better connections with others by ‘placing ourselves in their shoes’;
- The motivation of compassion, which delivers the capacity to comprehend the suffering and ‘pain points’ that influence the behaviour of others and ourselves.
“These competencies and motivations are crucial in growing our levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, to better shape our social interactions and improve the more complex decision-making processes now required in organisations wanting to foster psychological safety,” Dr Reeder said.
In fact, recent research on mindfulness, empathy and compassion is now indicating some significant outcomes. These include: reductions in the number of medical errors; lower levels of workplace bullying and absenteeism; improvements in the perspective-taking required for more targeted policy options; higher levels of focused attention; improved physical outcomes including lower blood pressure and stronger immune systems; and enhanced emotion regulation, resulting in less anxiety and reactivity and higher levels of considered responses.
National leadership and international connection
The Mindful Futures Network (MFN) will create a national space to map and evaluate projects, and facilitate collaborations on the systems benefits of the skill of mindfulness, the competency of empathy, and the motivation of compassion. It will also work with universities to study where these applications have negative effects.
MFN will connect with similar international networks, including the Mindfulness for Social Change Network based at Oxford University in the UK, and the Conscious Company Global Leaders Forum based in the US.
The launch took place on Thursday 18 May 2017 via webinar.
The speakers were Dr Lynne Reeder, Founder of the Mindful Futures Network and Board Director of Australia21, and Chris Ruane, former House of Commons MP, and President of the Mindfulness Initiative, and Mindful Nation UK.
The Mindful Futures Network is an initiative of Australia21.