Since her children came along life is quite tough for working mother Nancy. She has her own business, teaching music: classes with toddlers during the day time and during evenings and part of the weekend she is a piano teacher to children and adults. Her eldest, Jonathan now 5 years old, has never been a good sleeper and as a result, she hasn’t slept well for the last 5 years. Her husband helps wherever he can, but as he is travelling a lot for work, he can’t be really counted on. Juggling a 3 and 5 year old with the irregularity of her job was getting to her. Nancy decided that something had to give, and she did not want it to be her. She chose to have some coaching and changed her life around.
How did she manage to change her life?
Having a space where she could offload and at the same time get an insight in what was going on helped Nancy to start feeling more in control. Instead of the chaos she felt, she could look at herself and her life from a broader perspective, which was helpful. But, the most important change was the fact she learned mindfulness meditation: “After the first session I have been feeling so much calmer, and I have been sleeping better as well. I have more energy, which is great and I am feeling really positive about me taking back control of my emotions.”
Mindfulness is in the spotlight at the moment and for good reason. It has proven to be a great tool to reduce anxiety, deal with depression, manage eating disorders and …. as shown on BBC’s programme Horizon ‘change personality traits – from negative into positive’ (10th July 2013).
There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that mindfulness meditation helps people to make changes in what sounds like a ‘magical way’. Meditate daily and feel your depression evaporate, practice regularly and observe your mood changing. Add some academic tests and notice that your brain has changed: physical and visual proof of change.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness: the state of being in which you are in the present moment and not busy with the past (that has gone anyway), the future (which is a fantasy that might never materialise in the way you anticipate), other people (as they distract you from yourself) or events (that always take place outside you).
The art of being fully present!
What is meditation?
Meditation: the technique or activity that will lead to a state of mindfulness. The key of meditation practice, sometimes called ‘sitting’, is focus. It is not relevant what you focus on, as long as you do it.
It is simple. And I know that, because I have been doing it myself and I am teaching people how to do it and how to integrate the skill into their busy lifestyle.
Top five tips to become more mindful
Mindfulness is all about focus. Regardless of what it is you focus on. If you want to be more mindful, try the following for as long as you have time for – 10 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minutes:
1. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Count how many different sounds you can hear.
2. SMS – Soften My Shoulders. Bringing the whole of you focus on to your shoulders and really observe how much tension you are holding. Then when you next breath out, allow that tension to gently flow out of your body.
3. When the phone rings or pings, try not to ‘react’ and pick it up. Take a moment to tell your mind that you can hear the sound of your phone and then decide what you are going to do: pick it up, look at it or leave it (yes, that is an option)
4. Observe the flow of your breath. Feel cold air coming in and warm air going out.
5. Focus on the soles of your feet in contact with the floor. Connect with the ground and feel how your energy is coming down into your body towards your feet.
Author: Dr. Mariette Jansesen, Dr. Destress. She helps women to create their perfect work-life balance with individual coaching and mindfulness training. The Winner’s Package is a 4 session series that will deliver the results you are looking for and you will learn the art of Mindfulness.
Interested to learn more? Mariette is doing a talk on ‘The Art of Mindfulness’ on Wednesday evening 31 July in Guildford.
Or just call Mariette 07967717131