Our lives are varied. Some of us are busy, many are fast, some are lonely and lots of lives are complicated.
Whatever the day will present, we’re pretty sure there’ll be a few emotions in there, that we share in common such as tension, anxiety, being hassled, stressed and emotional.
Kirsten Rennie is a Health Practitioner and corporate wellness coachat Paradigm Switch. We asked her how Mindfulness can help us to be more balanced in our daily lives.
“Mindfulness is a fantastic tool that helps us to stabilise emotions and keeps our inner world calm and in order” she tells us. “It also teaches us how to become more aware of our bodies in a ‘felt sense’ way, allowing us to become more in tune with what our body needs and less reactive, so we become more healthy and balanced. The body does not have a voice; instead it talks to us in feelings, symptoms and DIS-ease so it is important to listen to it – The Mindfulness practice helps us to listen more readily.
The moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment is built into a Mindfulness practice, which involves maintaining that moment-by-moment awareness.
It also encourages an acceptance of the now, and of our thoughts and feelings that arise, without judging them. This makes us kinder to ourselves and helps to develop a better relationship with ourselves” concludes Kirsten.
If life is taking you over and your body is feeling tense, hunched up over a computer or nervous and overwhelmed by a situation, a little inner kindness goes a long way to dissolving those feelings. The result will be a calmer, more resilient you.
Kirsten goes on to tell us how in addition to providing a calmer mind that focuses better; a feeling of resilience; a generally more positive outlook and the feeling of control, Mindfulness helps with our digestion. It lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and the rate of inflammation in the body. Our immune system is boosted and energy levels are lifted.
A recent study of Aetna employees who participated in the company’s mindfulness program enjoyed a 28% reduction in stress, 20% better sleep, and 19% less pain, which has proven that the initiative works.
We asked Paradigm Switch Leadership Trainer & Coach, Dr Elaine Harding, how in her opinion Mindfulness increases our performance at work. Here’s what she told us:
“Mindfulness is an expanded state of awareness, where you are able to relax your normal mental ‘reflexes’ and not react in habitual ways. Many people mistakenly belief that mindfulness is an ‘empty’ state of mind, but that is not the purpose of mindfulness practice, but rather that specific state can eventually arise in us for moments or longer. However, the main point is to be more aware, both internally and externally. If we have an expanded awareness in our workplace, that means we are noticing more about ourselves, and about other people around us, as well as the general environment.
To be an effective leader it is important to expand your own potential in order to help others expand theirs. If a leader cannot see their own habits, and change the ones that are getting in the way of the expression of their highest potential, then it will be difficult for them to help others. In fact, if leaders do not develop mindfulness, then it is likely that they are causing others more problems rather than helping them solve the ones they have! This is where Mindfulness becomes a practice of allowing oneself to become open to the people around you, rather than judging them. Once you begin to notice more about yourself, and how habitual you really are, you start to also develop compassion. This gives you the freedom to accept yourself and to accept others, while developing a more strategic approach of clarity and thoughtful action.”
So how can we use Mindfulness in everyday life?
Dr Harding advises, “If you are going to begin a mindfulness practice, it is helpful to learn in a supportive setting, even if only over a weekend. It is also useful to have an experienced person you can talk to about your practice and any issues that may arise for you. Find a time in your day where you can do a practice, even if only for 5 minutes. Then, throughout the day, try to do short 1-minute practices just by breathing in deeply and noticing your body and how you feel. It’s also great to go into a meeting after a few minutes of mindfulness practice.
A good idea is to use one of the many great apps available offering guided meditations and timers, check to see which one might work for you.
“It’s helpful to recognize stress triggers and when to practice Mindfulness,” says Kyla Tustin, International Coach and Facilitator. Be aware of some common prompts when the Practice becomes an effective tool.
- When you feel tension in your body
- When you feel overly emotional
- When you find yourself reacting rather than responding
- Understand your stress signs and symptoms eg headaches, back pain. stomach upsets
- When you find yourself stuck in doubt and procrastination
- When you start to notice that the things you love are annoying you
For Kyla, “it’s when I hit shuffle on my Spotify and all my songs annoy me … I know I need to go within and see what is causing stress in my day.”
Kirsten Rennie, Elaine Harding and Kyla Tustin are practitioners for Paradigm Switch. If you would like to explore your personal or business health, please book a session by visiting the website www.paradigmswitch.com.au