Having just returned from a week in Brighton doing my Youth Mindfulness teacher training, I am returning back to my everyday life with a mind full of wonder, information and ideas, as to how I can share all I have learnt with those who would benefit from knowing it. The challenge here is that I think EVERYONE would benefit from experiencing it!
As a Life Coach, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist I have always used solution focussed techniques to resolve the issues of others, and along the way, my own challenges too. So I was amazed and surprised at how deeply affected and blown away I was by experiencing the benefits of doing Mindfulness, and the practice of meditation. This gentle method of self-awareness and acceptance has shown me that sometimes the solution is to do less rather than more.
I went on this course with the intention of learning to teach children how to use mindfulness as a method of understanding and managing difficult emotions, and to learn how to use it to build calm, kindness, resilience and happiness. But what I actually learnt was all the above and so much more…
We Humans seem to have created ourselves a mad, mad world, where despite craving happiness and contentment, we seem to be avoiding peace and calm at all costs! There appears to be a fear that if we and our children are not eternally busy then that may mean our lives are somehow lacking. Consequently stress in both adults and children and those in-betweens has reached epidemic proportions. Not only do we fear dissatisfaction or boredom for ourselves, but we fear our children’s wrath and behaviour if they should ever get the chance to feel bored too.
I admit it, when the school holidays came around it was with dread, how would I keep my child busy for all those days and weeks? How many clubs could I put him in (usually forcefully) because I was trying to avoid my own feelings of discomfort and self-judgement if he was bored and moaning? The more activities I provided, the better I felt I was parenting.
Ok so this is a slight exaggeration, I had one child who wanted to do all this and another who didn’t. I believed he should be out having fun with other kids therefore got cross, frustrated and anxious, as he sat glued to a screen in his darkened bedroom. (I wasn’t a therapist at this point so I was not as wise to my own feelings and behaviours! Though therapists are humans too.)
How could mindfulness have made this different?
If I had been familiar with Mindfulness at this point, I would have recognised that this was more about my issues and desires than his. I could have then used that insight to learn to feel accepting and non-judgemental of both myself and him. If I had been just in this moment without judgement or expecting him to be like his brother was – the past, or fearing the future – he will be a social outcaste with no friends if he isn’t out having my idea of fun. Then the foundations for positive change would have been laid.
Now as I often tell my clients; “You cannot change others but when you change yourself, others may change in response.”
The consequences of me reaching this understanding would be I would have felt happier, calmer and more understanding and empathetic. This may have been just what he needed to feel safe enough to have come out of his room, without the fear of being dragged off to football camp with a bunch of kids he had never met before…his idea of hell. He too would then feel happier, loved, accepted and safe, all the vital ingredients for resilience and emotional wellbeing. There is even a chance peace would have reigned in our house rather than conflict.
So can you see why EVERYONE needs to know how to be mindful?
It is the butterfly or domino effect, we can lead by example; when we live our lives with peace and without judgement, we open up the possibility that others around us can live theirs like that too.
This blog just touches on how Mindfulness can influence your life and the lives of those around you, but to really understand what it is and how to do it, as I learnt last week, you actually have to do it! For me being in a group setting made all the difference to my own practice and experience as I had only really used recordings to guide me before.
If you would like to know more, or join my Everyday Mindfulness through positivity journaling course starting September 26th 2017, or attend my November Mind Spa day; Mindfulness is Fun! Then please take a look at my website www.positivitylifecoaching.co.uk or contact me at [email protected] or call 0794 777 6425.