Mindfulness in Action

WC Header

Dr. Teri Pipe's Take on Mindfulness

Refuse and recyclable materials collection is the 5th deadliest job in the United States. With mindfulness, we may be able to reduce the number of fatalities, reduce errors and be safer on the job.

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is an intentional way of being present, focused and observant of the current experience. Mindfulness is a natural state and a skill that can be strengthened by practice. While mindfulness may seem like a "soft skill," in reality, there are many ways that using mindful practices can translate into risk reduction, error prevention and safer outcomes. My own background is in nursing, and like your role, the ability to stay focused despite interruptions and distractions can mean the difference in preventing errors and saving lives. By learning how to strengthen our natural ability to focus and stay present, we can be more alert, alive and aware- not just at work, but for the rest of our life, too.

Mindfulness is not:

  • "zoning out"
  • having a mind that is free from thoughts
  • simply stress management or breathing techniques
  • a religion
  • something you can fail
  • a mystical or unnatural state

Mindfulness is:

  • focus
  • attention with intention
  • presence
  • an evidence-based, non-pharmacological approach to address stress, anxiety and depression that can be used in conjunction with other approaches such as medication, talk therapy and other treatments by your health care team
  • being alert and alive for your life, moment by moment
  • observation of your current experience without adding "story"
  • a way to be aware of habits, patterns and auto-pilot

During the upcoming conference, you will be able to learn and practice practical techniques to train your focus and attention so that you can reduce the impact of distractions, interruptions and automatic habitual patterns that may put you at risk for injury or error. We will discuss the impact that stress has on your mind, body and relationships and ways that you can reduce the negative impact and build more positive, healthy strategies that are based in the evidence. Just as athletes practice before a game or race, by building practice into our days we can perform better when we face major events or important situations. We will talk about the brain/body science behind mindfulness and the ways mindfulness skills can be used to build healthier pathways.

I look forward to working with you to find new ways to approach your safety and well-being through mindful awareness. We will also provide information and resources you can use after the conference if you want to take what you learn back to your work or home settings. Until then, I wish you a safe and happy summer!




Dr. Teri Pipe, Chief Well-Being Officer, Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience, Arizona State University

Dr. Teri Pipe is Arizona State University's Chief Well-Being Officer and served as the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU) from 2011–2018. She also is the founding director of ASU's Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience. Before coming to ASU in 2011, Professor Pipe served as director of Nursing Research and Innovation at Mayo Clinic Arizona and was an associate professor of nursing at the Mayo Clinic’s College of Medicine. In 2014 she was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow. Dr. Pipe has a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Administration with a minor in Gerontology from Pennsylvania State University. She has a Master’s degree with an emphasis in Gerontology from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Iowa. Among her recent honors was her recognition as a Phoenix Business Journal Health Care Hero in 2014.


Make sure you catch Dr. Teri Pipe's presentation, as well as many other industry leaders, at WASTECON! Register before July 31 for our Early Bird discount!