We are hyperconnected, drowning in technology, information, and stimulation. Working harder than ever before, restless, feeling isolated, and trying to keep up with increased demands and expectations on our time and energy.
The ‘home-office’ became mandatory for the majority almost overnight. There was no precedent to look back to, so naturally no one was prepared for the darker side of remote working.
In an age with so much change and uncertainty, does mind and body focused resilience hold the key to weathering the storm, preventing stress, and moving forward?
HappyHQ spoke with Body-orientated Resilience Coach, Ben Munday, who supports professionals to become more confident in work and life. We discussed why resilience starts in the body, why we need to look inside for answers, and how this translates into the workplace.
Q: You started your career working in fashion, what inspired you to become a resilience coach?
Growing up in the country with three older brothers, life was simple and happy. My upbringing was physical with lots of time spent outdoors. When I moved to London, I became distracted by a career working in a notoriously tough industry. I was so focused on making it a success, I didn’t give much consideration to the unhealthy lifestyle I was leading; the late nights, the lack of sleep, my diet etc.
As my health declined so too did my energy levels and in-turn my thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours. My negative cycle needed shaking up. The more I learnt and focused on what made myself and my co-workers feel good, the more I realised that this was my passion. Humans are fascinating creatures; I was inspired to support them in accessing their potential.
Q: Why does resilience start with the body?
Our bodies know all our life stories and secrets, so when we listen and work with it, it becomes a powerful, intelligent organism for self-healing and progress.
You know that gut feeling? That’s a message from your body that you should listen to. Our bodies don’t lie, we can create change directly by passing the cognitive narratives we hold from our past. I support clients to cultivate that trust and confidence within themselves by listening to their body.
Emotional intelligence plays such a big part of this. The (stressed) brain is not enough we also need the body in alignment. I like to encourage this by focusing on helping people to ride out their storm knowing that this is just part of nature.
Q: How does this transpire into your coaching approach?
In essence, I help my clients to come back to the now by using the simplicity of their body’s innate wisdom as a reminder and anchor.
My approach encourages many things such as review of physical bodily responses, non-verbal and unconscious gestures, and reactions, repatterning of the nervous system, movement, education about our bodies adaptive evolution, and even more contextual impacts; – sleep, hydration, routine, exercise, and diet. I work with clients to celebrate having a body, as well as remembering to have fun!
Q: You often refer to the adage ‘everybody wants to change the world but not themselves’, why are we so resistant to positive change within ourselves?
Humans are habitual, for many a loss of routine (ritual: bed-home-work-home-bed) and juggling a mishmash of meetings, meals, chores, kid-care/home-school, workload and much more, has demanded us to wear many hats and taken a huge toll on our whole being. Creating a perpetual state of ‘busyness’ and ‘online’ as we ineffectively try to multitask our endless to-do’s. It’s leaving people in a state of exhaustion, stress and hopelessness.
Q: Why is resilience so vital in protecting our mental and physical health?
At this moment in time, we’re at the junction of two major life-defining streams. A world of ‘too much’ and ‘Covid19’. Firstly, we’re hyperconnected, drowning in technology, information and stimulation. We’re constantly busy, not knowing how to ‘switch off’ as the demands on our time and attention outstrip our personal capacity.
Secondly, Covid19’s colossal impact is now blurring work and home life, job security, financial stability all very real psychosocial hazards mixed with restricted human freedoms of going outside, seeing friends and blowing off steam. Not to mention the continuous negative media of global crises thrown at us, all of which is adding a huge strain on our existence. Keep calm and carry on? Keep calm and give yourself a S#!* load of self-compassion.
It’s really tough at the moment and the future looks epically more complex and unpredictable.
Resilience helps us hold a space for the good and bad, rough or smooth; – the richness of life. It allows us to be in a resourced place to make centred decisions to move forward.
Q: What steps can leaders and managers take to build a more resilient workplace? What are the benefits to building a resilient team?
Successful companies run on happy and healthy employees, which means that their needs are met; what are those needs? Start by simply asking them!
A little understanding around the importance of things like human connection and autonomy goes such a long way.
It’s my belief the issues of increased challenges need to be shouldered 50/50 by employees (How is this affecting me? What can I actively do to help myself?) and employers (What do we need to organise? How can we best communicate and support our staff?).
At HappyHQ we help companies easily recognise, implement, and sustain important culture changes. Our approach is informed by all the things that matter most. We put people at the heart of your culture goals because no one experiences company culture more than its people.
Get in touch with one of the team to find out more.