Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice dating back over 2,500 years and was first taught in India by the Buddha, a title that means “awakened one.” He was a real person born in the 6th century B.C.E. as the prince of a small kingdom in what’s now Nepal.
Mindfulness means being present, focused in there here and now and not living life in your head or on autopilot.
Mindfulness practice uses simple techniques to become aware of what’s going on in every moment with your body, thoughts, intuition/gut feelings and your responses. It’s not therapy in that you don’t analyse these things – being mindful means simply observing and accepting then choosing how to respond.
What’s brilliant about Mindfulness is that it creates an instant of space which allows you to make more skillful and balanced decisions based on the way things are.
It has become increasingly popular as a practice in daily life – possibly because it’s simple to understand and do and gets solid results.
Its rise has been largely due to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979.
Since that time, clinical studies have continued to provide real evidence of the physical and mental health benefits.
Being fully present;
- makes life feel richer, more joyful and often surprising.
- makes you more confident, clear and focused.
- reduces stress that comes from worry, feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope.
- helps make us more productive, creative and inspired.
- makes you less reactive and less likely to mis-interpret what’s being said.
- helps you come up with new ways of seeing things.
- helps you listen deeply and stay receptive and open, even during difficult conversations.
- means hearing your intuition or gut feelings clearly, which makes it easier to rely and act on them.
- helps you to be more compassionate, empathic and caring because you’re not caught up in your head.
- means more balanced decisions – you’re basing your opinions on what’s in front of you, not what you think you know or see.
- helps you manage pain.
- helps you sleep better!
There are so many benefits – from helping you to calm nerves before interviews, exams, public speaking and important meetings, to helping you find more meaning from life, to being a powerful catalyst for growth.
You’ll see an immediate improvement across the board once you begin to practice Mindfulness.
Both meditation and mindfulness follow Buddha’s 8-fold path: Right view, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
In my experience, meditation is similar to mindfulness in that you create a space and time to relax, center yourself and be present and observe. With meditation, you sit and deliberately create time and encourage an atmosphere or oasis of calm.
Mindfulness can be more reactive, is easier for a beginner to do and gets instant results. For example, if I catch myself worrying or spending too much time in my head during my day, I simply bring my focus back to the present.
In this way, I notice more around me – smells, colours, conversations, sounds… and observe the impact these make as I walk down the escalators to the tube in London.
I use a mindful technique from my own Universal Journey system to get me to sleep at night, which involves focusing my minds eye on a particular colour. It’s literally the fastest way I know to get to sleep.
Another difference is that whilst mindfulness trains the mind, a bit like going to the gym and exercising a muscle, meditation stretches us beyond the ‘mind’, opening our awareness to stillness, expansiveness and transcendence (going beyond our day to day lives) – as seen in psychologist Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Researchers and psychologists are subjecting mindfulness to some intense scrutiny. They are also finding radical new uses for it in therapy, business and education that ‘meditation’ has always lacked. This has really helped the practice as a whole gain more mainstream attention.
Thanks to incorporating both of these practices into my life, I have learnt to switch on a deep level of focus and attention whenever I need it, whether in daily life or whilst meditating and have a good degree of self-awareness.
Pick up your free audio. This will give you a brilliant introduction to the process, is fast and easy to do and is perfect for beginners or people who just want some headspace.
- Being aware of unhelpful thoughts brings you back to the present – so listen to yourself more.
- Trusting insights and intuitive feelings will make you more confident and help your life and relationships stay on track.
- Take time to be mindful; in the shower, doing the washing up or the gardening. 80% of my best ideas come to me when I’m doing something mundane with a blank mind.
- Ask questions… What do I believe in? Why does this matter so much? Why don’t I feel able to do XYZ? This helps you get to the heart of what’s really going on and increases your self-awareness – which in turn makes you a more empathic and compassionate friend, parent, partner and colleague.
If you’re not sure, get in touch. I can talk you through the process, the kind of things we might cover and you can see for yourself whether it’s right for you or not.
Generally speaking if you have certain key issues such as
- feeling stuck/overwhelmed and stressed out, which is affecting relationships, health and work
- feeling like life is passing you by, or not living the life you want
- feeling like ‘you’ got lost somewhere along the way in life
- knowing you have more to give but not sure what that is
- wanting to stop living in the past (or future) and feel more confident
- wanting to get in touch with your deeper self/personal growth
- looking for more meaning from life and work
- a recent divorce, relationship split or bereavement
- recent redundancy or career transition
- a quarter or mid life crisis
Or, more specific requirements such as
- an upcoming exam, presentation, appraisal or job interview
- more sales
- better relationship skills
- upcoming birth and pain control
In each of these cases, coaching can help.
To begin with, decide what outcomes you want from coaching, make a commitment to yourself that you’re ready to make a positive change then commit to achieving them and investing in yourself to make them happen. If you’re accepted on the programme, we will discuss your goals in more detail.
Once you’re registered, you’ll receive a welcome pack with the first module, which will help me to help you reach, and hopefully exceed your goals.
In the interim, be mindful of the tips above (“How can I start incorporating mindfulness practice into my life now?”) and start practicing. Just being aware of these three areas will already have a noticeable impact on your life.
Yes, mindfulness works for everyone – and you’ve unconsciously been doing it to some degree already.
Some people worry about not being able to ‘switch off’ or do the exercises. Because our mindful coaching is personalised, you’ll find that everything we do is tailored around you and the way you work best.
I have 26 years worth of experience to draw on, as well as 17 years teaching this, which is a huge reservoir of knowledge to bring into our sessions. So I’m confident I can help.
The sessions, whilst aiming to achieve your desired outcomes, are also fun and lighthearted. The aim with personal coaching is to give you exercises to help you move your life forwards, whilst also giving you useful tools for the future.
If you’re drawn to mindfulness as a solution, feel ready to up your game and live a more peaceful, fulfilling and meaningful life, you’re ready for coaching!
The essence of mindful practice is acceptance, kindness and peace.
Mindfulness is not a religious practice. It is a solid, tangible and very accessible process that will help you in every area of your life, and add to any other positive changes you’re making.
It has been thoroughly researched, proven to work and the fact that so many large organisations are adopting it means that as a practice, it’s gaining more and more mainstream momentum.
Then you need mindful coaching! Most people who come to me share your concern, however after a few minutes are able to switch off and just go with the process. The key is to approach it with an open mind. It’s easier than you think.
As one of my clients said “Alison is very good at making you feel instantly comfortable and safe. Trusting the process was very important. I can often over analyse things, however during my session that part of me seemed to silence itself somewhat.”
I’m very competitive for London coaching and there is a discount for booking the 4 recommended sessions in one go. There is also an easy pay option.
If you’re interested and serious about changing things for the better, I’m excited for you. Let’s talk first so we can make sure that we’re a good fit for each other.
I’m happy to coach leaders, business owners and managers as well as individuals who work in sales, customer service or other client facing roles. I can also work through HR and L & D departments to coach teams in relation to specific outcomes.
I deliver courses, talks and workshops to organisations and small businesses to show you how to use mindfulness and meditation to increase sales and improve relationships.
Mindful techniques can reduce stress and absenteeism whilst increasing productivity, wellbeing and happiness.
I also offer a teambuilding service which incorporates mindful techniques to achieve outstanding results.
Because I offer a bespoke service, please contact me to discuss your requirements.