the buzz of mindfulness
It's growing. It's growing! there is so much buzz growing about mindfulness meditation and its benefits. We know that it helps with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, that it decreases cellular inflammation, even that it changes DNA structure, so that our aging slows down. If we simply google the word mindfulness, only one year ago we would come up with 25 million items, today there are 33 million. So much buzz! And yet, mindfulness is the most incredibly simple practice ever: Mindfulness is the ability to keep the attention on the moment happening now, without worrying and without judging.
the #2 tricky features of the brain
When we say simple though, we don't mean that it is easy. Let me get this right. The theory is super simple and yet the practice is SUPER DIFFICULT! Why? Because the brain is a crazy monkey. The brain comes with two inborn features! Sorry to tell you this: This beautiful, scattered organ :-) mostly does two things (all the time, pretty much). It COMPARES, AND WORRIES ABOUT DANGERS.
Just out of curiosity, take the time to keep a log, noticing what types of thoughts you have along your normal day. You will be surprised that your log can easily be simplified in these two columns.
so, what about mindfulness.
Well, mindfulness is the skill that can help us tame the crazy monkey. We learn to be aware of this two features and just by being aware, we calm ourselves. Again: easier said than done. So here is my trick. I had the fortune to be taught by my father, a famous sport psychologist, that has been training athletes in mindfulness and self-regulation over the past 30 years. I started thinking if top-athletes are interested in this, there must be something there. How did they tame their own top-Athletes' crazy monkey brains?
do what athletes do.
One of the things I know now, is that Athletes like graphs. It would be quite hard to have a top soccer player sit on your psychology couch and open up to tell you his problems. But. But if you show him graphs, that will give him a sense of measurability and of self-efficacy; two things that an athlete knows well.
so technology it is.
Take this notion of being in the present, with your breathing, without judgement. And then hook yourself up. Measure your breathing, see it on a screen. Look at your heart rate fluctuating. Learn about your body temperature and be excited at how it goes up as you relax or how it drops when you scare yourself. See that the electrical activity on your muscles might be so high, just because you are thinking of a danger, and in your head you are defending yourself, tensing your shoulder like in an imaginary karate pose ;-). Newer technologies help embrace good healthy practices and make them easier to be implemented. And by the way, mindfulness is not just a new buzz, it is an ancient knowledge, that has been available to us for millenia.
Well. I am engaged in teaching this approach to my clients everyday. With anxiety, low-self-esteem, bi-polar disorders, eating disorders, sleep problems, mindfulness based interventions help big time. It makes me happy that I can help my beautiful patients on a one-on-one basis to be present, to understand the brain, and to calm it. It is incredibly effective work.
Also: I wanted to help more people at the same time. So I am working at a project. Mindfulness spaces around this town. Available to everyone. All the time. And with some technology to support. The project is still in its infancy. But wait a MOMENT :-), and you will soon find out more.
In the meantime, around the world ;-)
In Australia, The amazing Wellbeing Collective hosted a BLOG about this passion of mine. thank you, Annika!
And in Chile, my enthusiasm gave inspiration for a workshop, that I am consulting for.
Mindfulness travels far, my friends.