Mindfulness is Awareness
Mindfulness is an extremely powerful approach in helping people live the life they truly want, rather than the life that their thoughts and emotions dictate. Mindfulness is the art of living consciously; It is about stepping out of autopilot and becoming aware; aware of how we have evolved and how our brains are wired genetically and aware how we through life have picked up habits and patterns of thinking and behaving. This awareness give us the ability to consciously choose different ways of responding to life’s challenges.
Training the mind
Mindfulness is part of the so-called ‘third wave’ of behavioral therapies in Western psychology, which offers a radically different approach; it does not actually try to get rid of all the difficult and unpleasant thoughts and emotions in life. Instead, it recognizes them as a natural part of life which we can learn to manage – and actually learn from. However, it is not a quick fix. To learn to thrive instead of merely survive, we are required to learn new skills and habits and to some extend rebel against how evolution has created us. But thanks to neuroplasticity of our brain, we can actually physically rearrange our neurological pathways and our response-patterns in the brain through regular practice. In other words, just like we regularly exercise our body to improve our physical health, mindfulness teaches us how to flex the mind for optimal mental health.
Connecting to the present moment
In a nutshell, mindfulness training is simply training our ability to consciously connect to the present moment in a curious and non-judgemental way (asking ourselves; how do I feel right now, what thoughts, emotions and physical sensations are here right now). This not only makes us more aware of how our minds and bodies work, but also trains our ability to consciously pay attention and stay focused – something that is very useful in this day and age when we are constantly being distracted and expected to attend to many things at once.
The research into the effects of mindfulness has been explosive in the last 10-15 years. Although there has been doubt about the scientific validity of some of these studies, repeated solid research indicate that mindfulness can offer:
- Improved physical health and life quality
- Reduced stress & anxiety
- More resilience (psychological flexibility)
- Better conflict resolution
- Stronger leadership skills
- Improved communication
- Increased cognitive function and memory
- Increased focus, concentration and creativity
- Enhanced performance
- Help against depression and prevention of relapse
Mindfulness at Thriving Life
At Thriving Life, we have no doubt that mindfulness is one of the core skills we need to learn in order to create balanced, rich and fulfilling lives and therefore all our work is based on teaching mindfulness skills. However, mindfulness can be taught and used in many ways. Although it is often associated with meditation, it can also be trained through movement, sport, art and just by being more aware of present moments in everyday life. We teach it in a way that suits the environment and the people – so don’t be discouraged if you have heard that you have to sit for 40 minutes on a cushion every day to learn mindfulness – we will find a way for you to practice that suits your life and schedule.
We also realise that mindfulness is not a panacea that can solve all problems in the world. We therefore also bring in other scientifically researched approaches as well. Furthermore, we acknowledge that the definition of what makes a thriving (work-) life is very different for different people. Our recipe for a thriving life is a mindful, value driven life and one of our core aims is therefore to help identify what is important to each person or organization, what are their values and purpose.