Mindfulness: Deeper than Thoughts
Mindfulness is popular.
Clarity of mind, relaxation, better connection to self.
Attaining a clearer perspective, aligned with your values, energized by your true goals.
In sessions, I guide clients through a visualization similar to the video below. We then focus on the shift in perception that you hope to attain, to make your life better. There is something deeper to visualizations that include a physical focus. Embodiment of wisdom occurs, and the pre-verbal experiences shift. Try this 3 minute meditation for a taste of how mindfulness sessions feel:
Mindfulness was originally established in 1979. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded a new technique called MBSR, or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Since that time, repeated research studies have shown that mindfulness is more effective than stress management. Not only calming your mind and enhancing your clarity and efficiency of thought, mindfulness also has physical benefits to your health.
Before the term "mindfulness", many styles of meditation were practiced for thousands of years all over the planet. Mindfulness is unique in that it removes any religious or spiritual alignment, and focuses specifically on how to "arrest" the attention, and put your attention into a place that is beneficial, without associated gods or goddess or systematized belief systems other than your own. In other words, mindfulness gives space for your psyche to explore.
As you practice mindfulness repeatedly, your ability to shift your attention becomes a new habit. You easily shift out of stressed or cloudy or negative perspectives. Your brain recognizes these states more readily, with an automatic shift to a more positive state. For some benefit, practice once a day. For better results, practice for three minutes three times a day. For profound results, try thirty minutes every morning and every evening.
I have so enjoyed using mindfulness in my practice. I find it as potent, and potentially more powerful, than psychotherapy alone. Perhaps it is because it includes increased body awareness and pre-verbal awareness.
Athletes know that if you practice something over and over again in your mind, it becomes a habit and skill increases. You enter "the zone" when playing a game or performing, where the mind stops and you simply are being, very much in the moment, simultaneously aware of self and environment and the movements you are doing. Athletes also know that thinking individually of each muscle group, is not as effective as using a visual or feeling state metaphor. For example, if I leap into the air focused on how my calf muscles and feet work together, I will achieve a certain height. If I imagine leaping along my favourite beach and sensing the wind in my hair, looking at the horizon, suddenly my muscles and nervous system work such that I leap higher. There is a power to visual imagery to shape the body towards more excellence. Mindfulness used for optimization, uses visual imagery and physical awareness to enhance excellence. These two aspects seem to power the psyche to shift, as much as they empower the body to perform athletic feats.
Mindfulness, is the beginning of a new way of empowering our minds. Once we learn to master attention, we then are able to place our attention on desired states of being. In classic mindfulness practice, the new skill with attention is used to help a person interpret a situation in different ways, instead of jumping to a quick reaction, or assumption. Being an observer, rather than jumping quickly into action, increases space for assessing before acting. Neutrality is encouraged, such that options of how to interpret and thus navigate life, expand.
From this place, my clients can then look at specific areas they wish to excel in. By identifying patterns of perception, and underlying beliefs, we can then create a practice that helps manifest a lifestyle and experience in life that is closer to the client's true goals and dreams.
Sometimes we develop a state of greater self compassion, calm, kindness, or self appreciation. Other times, we identify a core belief habit that is obstructing success. By approaching it with neutrality, new options become available, and new belief habits can be practiced. Habits of relating to others that are addressed, can be shifted to enrich relationships, which Harvard now notes are the key to lifelong happiness. Creating space may be another topic; how to have clear boundaries between what you feel obligated to do versus the time you need to take for self care. Identifying core values and aligning behaviour to support these beliefs may be another approach. By finding the key area needed to shift, we design a daily practice to enrich your world, in the area that you are choosing to focus on.
I am very excited to offer more mindfulness sessions in downtown Vancouver at a new office.
Please contact us for more details at:
Good Genes are nice, but joy is better. Harvard Gazette, L Mineo 2017
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2015
Sports vizualisation: how to imagine your way to success. Telegraph, M Bailey 2014