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How A Mindfulness Coach Can Improve Your Life

How A Mindfulness Coach Can Improve Your Life

“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each movement. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

How many times in the past few months have you heard the word “mindfulness”? It’s become a “buzzword” in today’s world. Many people talk about it, but few actually understand the true meaning of mindfulness. At its root, mindfulness is a form of meditation. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as follows: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

That might sound simple at first, but when’s the last time you can say you honestly practiced this state of being for any amount of time? Would you ever consider having a mindfulness coach to help you achieve such a state? I have to be honest and admit that when I was first introduced to mindfulness, I thought it was an impossible goal that I would never achieve. After all, I had much better things to do that didn’t require me to pause and think about the present moment, and I thought those things would place me ahead of the game. What I didn’t realize back then was that learning to pause and focus on what was going on in the present moment — without judgment! — would allow me to be more productive, happier, and more fulfilled in what I was doing. Mindfulness helped pave my way toward a better present and future, and I have no doubt that it can help you do the same!

Mindfulness has become very popular in the past few years, particularly after large companies such as Google and ebay started using it to help benefit their business by teaching mindfulness to their employees. Google took it a step further, and has a program called “Search Inside Yourself” that is helping its employees learn and practice mindfulness. The idea behind it is that we can improve our emotional intelligence by utilizing mindfulness and neuroscience. Basically, as humans, we perform better if we are aware of and able to grow our emotional intelligence, which is broken into five sections: self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy, and leadership.

Many scientists have also provided evidence that practicing mindfulness can actually lead to stronger connections in the brain that will eventually change the structure of the brain. Yes, it sounds kind of crazy, but it’s called “neuroplasticity.” It is a hot topic in the field right now, and it is helping millions of people become more and more mindful.

If I told you that you could improve your life and reduce your stress and anxiety by working with a mindfulness coach, would you consider working with one? Even for one or two sessions? I am hoping that by the time you are done reading about the ways that a mindfulness coach can help improve your life, you might consider making the investment in yourself. But first, let’s dive right into how a mindfulness coach can help you feel better!

# 1 Help You Create a Clear Direction For Your Life with Greater Passion

If you are feeling lost and unsure about which direction to take, or if you feel that you know the direction, but are currently paralyzed by your fears, then you might want to consider working with a mindfulness life coach. One challenge that many of us face is getting lost in our thoughts and feelings whenever we think about future plans, our true desires, and how we can achieve those goals. You know when you feel like thoughts are swirling around in your brain, but you can’t make sense of them? We don’t allow ourselves to trust that when we relax our minds and listen to ourselves and our wishes without the many life distractions that are in our way, we might actually find the answers to our questions.

Your mindfulness life coach can provide you with the insight and support to find and stay on your path of awakening to your authentic self so you can find out what you were truly meant to do. In order for you to be able to find your authentic self, your coach will help you declutter the thoughts that are sometimes toxic and unproductive, and help you pave your way to cultivating a mindfulness practice, where you can learn to notice and effectively clear your mind. This then gives way for attention and intention to emerge. As you become more present and aware of your thoughts, you will learn to redirect those thoughts to make room for more positive and constructive ones.

Throughout the process of working with your mindfulness coach, you will begin to engage in a more positive mode of thinking, and be able to let go of the distracting thoughts that prevented you from achieving your goal. As you become more present and able to achieve your desired goals, you will also be on your way to a more joyous and fulfilled state of being.

Zen Mindfulness Meditation

#2 Learn how To Express Your Inner Strength and Unique Abilities

Many of us tend to look at our own qualities as flaws or imperfections, but we look at other people’s qualities as unique abilities or successes. With the help of your mindfulness coach, you will develop an awareness of your strengths and unique abilities and invest your energy and time focusing on these traits — instead of constantly dwelling on your weaknesses or perceived flaws. Furthermore, your mindfulness life coach will help you realize that in every moment there are opportunities for change and growth.

Learning to express inner strength and unique abilities will help you feel better about who you are and help you develop true self confidence and self esteem. When you are younger — if you are lucky — you have parents, teachers, and coaches that help cultivate these qualities and build up your self esteem. However, as we become adults, we are often left feeling lost. It can feel selfish and indulgent to think too much about your good qualities, what separates you from your peers. This is where a professional can help. Investing in yourself is never a waste of time.

The incredible thing about the practice of mindfulness is that the more your practice, the more your behaviors become your default and your habits become something that serve rather than something that harms you. Your mindfulness coach will also provide you with practical tips techniques and skills that will support you in making lasting, meaningful change in your life.

#3 Help You Find Joy in Everything You Do

In life we don’t always do things that we want or love to do, but sometimes these things can lead us to other things that are more meaningful. Think about something that you did that you didn’t want to do because you had something else better to do.

One example that comes to mind for me is when Shiloh, my 8-year-old daughter, asked me to play the game Guess Who with her. Of course, I wanted to play with her for as long as I could, but it just so happened that that day, I had a long list of things to do, including cleaning the kitchen and finish working on an important project. However, I looked Shiloh in the eyes and said that I would love to play with her. I made a conscious decision that since I was having special time with her, I would be fully invested and committed to what we were doing. I got into the game and we ended up playing for almost an hour. At one point, I looked up and we were both laughing so hard, and she was looking at me with so much love. It reminded me how fun and innocent it is to be a child, and I realized how rewarding and redeeming it was for me to relish in my role as her mother. I truly enjoyed being in the moment and playing with this beautiful child of mine and sharing such important time.

The kitchen and my other work waited, and I don’t regret that time we spent together. It sounds simple when I outline it like that, but the number of times a day we prioritize the “wrong” tasks on our lists will become more evident as you practice mindfulness. A mindfulness coach can help you decipher what you need to do versus what you want to do versus what will bring you both temporary and long-lasting joy.

# 4 Connect With Your Inner Wisdom

You might be reading this and asking yourself, “What is inner wisdom?” Inner wisdom is defined differently by different people, but it’s essentially something inside of us all that is pure. It’s a light inside that we don’t always see. Inner wisdom is also sensory versus all the loud voices that we hear and rules that we obey. Some refer to it as intuition. I remember thinking that some people have a more developed intuition than others — which to me meant they had a very special ability. While some people possess a very developed intuition and might have so-called special abilities, I have come to believe and witness that with practice, we can all become more intuitive and better connected to our inner wisdom. This is something a mindfulness coach can help you cultivate.

Feeling more connected to yourself will enable you to see what stands in your way more clearly and find/identify the appropriate solutions more easily. With the help of your mindfulness coach you will be able to seperate your rational voices from the emotional ones and access your inner voice that is beautiful and pure. This might sound like an impossible task, but with practice, you will be able to get there and find that you can live and lead a happier more fulfilled life style.

I remember that I when started working with a mindfulness coach over 10 years ago, I kept telling him that I had to get more and more training so that I could be as helpful as I could to my own clients. His response to me was this: “Your trunk is wide and full of information. From now on, you must focus on using what you know already and more importantly the skills and knowledge you possess that you never believed you had before.” These words stayed with me for a long time. I realized that when I was first working with clients, I spent hours and hours trying to find the answers to what they were going through, but always doubted my own intuition. As a new therapist, these doubts were probably normal, but what my coach helped me do more of was allow and trust my inner unique abilities to be used and expressed.

Providing therapy for my clients after that was a lot more enjoyable for me and more effective for my clients. I found that by making true meaningful connections with people I was able to experience life in a much more authentic way. More importantly, by demonstrating to my clients that I was present, I was able to connect with them and help them in new ways. I finally learned to trust that my education and skills were enough — and not just enough, but incredible tools to share that bring me much joy.

Calm relaxed woman meditating with laptop, no stress at work, mental health mindfulness coach

# 5 Help You Achieve Optimum Physical Health

There is much evidence for the the positive physical and health benefits mindfulness brings. There is a reason that so many people are drawn to the wonderful world of mindfulness. A study by Remmers et al (2016) found that mindfulness can help alleviate stress through improving emotion regulation, leading to a better mood and better ability to handle situations. Many other studies help support this finding by stating that when individuals induce a state of relaxation achieved through mindfulness, the benefits include higher brain functioning, increased immune function, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and increased awareness, attention and focus.

One of my most favorite experts in mindfulness, Dr. Daniel Siegel, published one of the first books ever to integrate neuroscience research with mindfulness. In his groundbreaking book he shows readers how personal awareness and attunement can stimulate emotional circuits in the brain, leading to a host of physiological benefits and improved cardiac and immune function.

It’s easy to put your physical health and your mental health into separate boxes in your mind, but when you realize just how connected they are, it will change your life for the better. Oftentimes, investing in your mental health is a vital step to improving your physical health.

The most important thing to take from working with your mindfulness coach is that it is possible to be fully present, fully engaged in life, and live the authentic life that you want to live. Your life can be full of purpose, and you can finish each day knowing that you lived it well.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists or dietitians, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you!

3 Easy Things You Can Do To Be Present This Week

Cup on a wooden table set against the backdrop of hills covered in fog

I woke up this morning in a quiet house somewhere in the Poconos, and it was silent. My husband took the girls skiing and while I wanted to have quality time with my family, I needed to spend quality time with myself – by myself.

At first I felt guilty for not going and was about to judge myself for being “selfish” and wanting quality time with myself. And then I paused…

I took a deep breath and decided to be kind (to myself) instead.

I made coffee and stepped outside in disbelief. Is it sunny outside and warm? After all, it is still February in the Northeast. It’s kind of crazy, but I’m definitely not complaining.

Looking out into nature, I saw trees, grass, and space – all things that we rarely take the time to appreciate. I was able to listen to the sound of the wind and smell the fresh air and appreciate a few moments of quiet, or may I say few moments of sanity.

I took my cup of coffee and I walked barefoot into the grass. I felt the cool, moist feeling from the grass and thought to myself, “When was the last time I allowed myself to just walk into nature without thinking about all the things that I have to do?”

And then I wondered why it is so challenging to find those moments during the week when kids are around and work is very demanding.

We all find ourselves busy with kids, work, household chores, and many, many other things that are important, but what we forget is that those few moments where we allow ourselves to just lie back, relax, and appreciate whatever it is there is to appreciate right in front of us are so rewarding. Why can’t we take more deep breaths and instead of thinking about the future, focus on the present moment?

I’d like to propose this goal for everyone this week: Enjoy the present moment.

Here are three things that you can do to enjoy the present moment…

  1. Listen to affirmations on a regular basis. I highly recommend “Soul of Healing Affirmations” by Deepak Chopra (you can order on iTunes – best $10 you will ever spend!!). In one of my favorite affirmations by Deepak Chopra, he talks about the idea of presence and what it means to be in the present moment. He starts the affirmation with the following: “Today I will find my soul here and now. This information is about the present moment. Make this your promise for today, and when you find that you have wandered from the present moment, ask to be brought back….”
  2. Slow down. Whatever you are doing, make an effort to do it in a slower way. Take your time and work on thinking and doing one thing at a time. Are you reading to your kids? Just read to your kids. Don’t think about the emails or texts you have not answered. Are you having a conversation with a friend? Just talk to that friend, don’t worry about the dishes that aren’t being done or the laundry you have waiting for you.
  3. Observe the feelings in your mind and body without labeling and judging them. For me, I often notice that these feeling are located in my upper chest. I find myself not breathing properly – to the point where I’m almost having shortness of breath. I found that if instead of avoiding the feelings and trying to get rid of them/push them away, I just welcome them without allowing my brain to spin out of control, they will often go subside.

So, what is that one thing that you can do today to help yourself be in the present moment? Well, you have already accomplished one thing by reading this!

So what is the second thing you can do?

#Happy everything

#mindfulness

#LWWellnessNetwork

The Beginning Of A Long Journey

Today’s blog is written by our incredible yoga instructor, Amanda Brown.

I delivered a healthy baby girl on October 15, 2011. Little did I realize how many ways it would change my life. Not only in the normal ways that motherhood does, but it also brought me closer to knowing my own self through what is now a passion for yoga. My yoga experience started in my teen years, but was just a passing fancy. Studies and meeting my future husband took precedence for quite some time, but I dabbled here and there. When I found out I was pregnant, life got upended as every parent comes to know. A friend suggested prenatal yoga and that is where my real journey began.

I joined a yoga studio when I was ready to re-enter the fitness world. This particular yoga studio had a spa-like feel to it and that alone had me hooked. I started with beginner classes, which naturally were packed, and I would always choose a mat in the back row hoping no one would see me (little did I know then the teacher can see the entire class and it doesn’t matter where you sit). I would attend the same two or three teachers’ classes. Their classes always had the perfect combination of breath work, a nice flow that was challenging, fun music, and most importantly, I always left feeling really positive about myself and couldn’t wait to step back on my mat. At the time I was dealing with some body image issues, but yoga seemed to be healing those issues not only on the outside, but on the inside as well.

I gradually started going to the more difficult classes. As my practice began to advance and my mindfulness became more aware, I started to think about becoming a yoga instructor. Yoga had really begun to make an impact on my life. I was becoming more mindful of pretty much everything: my relationships, how I treated those around me, what I was eating, the environment and letting little things go. All of these things had become so much easier since yoga had been in my life. I wanted to teach yoga to make an impact on people’s lives the way it was improving mine. I signed up for a 200-hour, 3-day intensive teacher training in August 2012.

Every day for 30 days from 8 am-6 pm we were at the studio learning everything yoga: history, philosophy, literature, proper alignment, adjustments for postures, meditation techniques, practicing teaching and so on. Normally a teacher training is done over the span of 3-6 months and is done on the weekends. We were in full yoga boot camp. At times teacher training was exhausting — my body ached, my mind would spin from information overload — but I was loving every minute. I learned from the co-teacher, whom I’ve continued studying with to this day, how strong our mind is and how are bodies can do anything, but without our minds, our body is nothing. This lesson was so valuable to me throughout our training. When my body felt like it couldn’t do one more chaturanga or one more downward dog, it was my mind that kept pushing me through the tough moments. Thirty days later we were handed our shiny certificates and I was determined to teach!

I am very blessed to be where I am today in my teaching career. I now have over 600 hours of training in Vinyassa, Ashtanga, Hatha and both Pre- and Post-Natal techniques! And I’m now a teacher in that very same spa-like studio where I was once a very timid member.

My most recent training took place in the motherland of Yoga: India. What an amazing experience it was. More on my India trip in my next blog….

To find out more about Amanda’s services and the classes she teaches, contact us through the website by clicking here.

Nanny Spy Confession: The Importance Of Awareness In Choosing A Nanny

I talk a lot about awareness because I believe as parents, and as people, it is one of the most important parts of growing and thriving. This is a story about a client (I’ve obviously changed a lot of details and the name) I worked with who was looking for some advice on hiring a nanny.

When Karen first came to me she was eight months pregnant and was really excited but also very nervous and anxious about the idea of hiring a nanny when she had to return to work. She didn’t even know where to begin and would ask me questions like, “What should I look for in a nanny?”

I had to get her to answer that question for herself, so I started asking what values were most important to her and how she wanted her future child to be raised. I also asked what her biggest fears were when it came to someone else looking after her child.

As we discussed these questions, a lot of her family history came up. Her biggest concern was finding a stable support system, for both herself and her children, as she had moved cross-country to NYC when she was 18. When Karen was 15 years old, her mom was diagnosed with cancer and eventually died a few years later. Her dad was an alcoholic during her childhood and she had lost contact with him since. Karen had to grow up at a very young age and, consequently, one of the biggest factors she was looking for in a nanny was stability and support.

Another question I asked was, “What do you fear most about hiring a nanny?” Karen revealed that she was terrified of hiring the wrong person – someone who would put her child in harm’s way. When she thought of what could go wrong, her mind would spiral. Eventually, it came out that when she was younger, there was an incident at a playground where she fell off a slide and had some very serious injuries involving stitches. It became evident that this had translated into high levels of anxiety for her future child’s safety.

The child wasn’t even born yet and she was scared to death of a nanny taking her eyes off her child and something terrible happening. While safety and consistency are two very important characteristics to look for in a nanny, in Karen’s case, she needed to work through some of her own fears and understand that what had happened to her was an accident. There is no way to protect your child from every single cut and scrape.

A child’s exploration is extremely important. Awareness helped Karen see that while there were some things she would be able to control about her future nanny, she would also have to learn to trust in order to not develop into a mom who hovered over both child and nanny.

As she became aware of her fears and her childhood, she was better able to articulate what she was looking for in a nanny and not just focus on the hyper-vigilant aspect. Throughout this process, she realized she had some unresolved issues. She had never properly mourned the loss of her mom or dealt with her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic father and his sense of helplessness. These are all issues that would come out eventually, but as she went to therapy and talked through them she realized how important it was to address them head on before they became a part of her parenting style or negatively blinded her to what she was looking for in a nanny.

I also asked her to identify what types of parenting her parents exhibited throughout her childhood. Her father was controlling at times, but in general, he was fairly absent and therefore she didn’t have a lot of rules or boundaries. She was close to her mother, but again, she wasn’t given a lot of structure at a young age. This became something she craved for her own child.

Especially for new parents, I always recommend thinking through your own childhood and putting thought into why you fear the things you fear. This will help put your fears into perspective and keep you from blowing them out of proportion in a way that could negatively affect your children.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

child cute little girl and mother holding hand together with lov

What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help Your Everyday Life?

In addition to tips for childcare and family wellness, I’m eager to share with you ways to improve your own personal mental well-being. One of the things that helped me finally overcome my eating disorder was the idea of mindfulness. People often associate mindfulness with meditation, but this doesn’t mean you need to meditate for hours every day. Being mindful is as simple as focusing on your breath and focusing on the moment, in the moment.

From reducing anxiety to lowering your blood pressure to improving your quality of sleep, doctors and researchers have proven the enormous benefits that come with a mindful approach to the way you live your life.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has this definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Every aspect of that definition is so significant. We could all use a reminder to bring attention to our thoughts, focus on the purpose behind out thoughts, stay in the moment and not let ourselves do a million things at once and allow ourselves to just be, without judgment.

For me, writing has always been a big part of my awareness; it’s allowed me to focus on myself and see things more clearly. Many people really benefit from a mindful approach to journaling each day. I encourage you to find something – whether that’s a journal, a prayer or a breathing exercise – that allows you to bring mindfulness into your daily routine, or at least your weekly schedule.

ACTIVITY:

One simple way to try mindfulness on your own involves something that Dr. Karen O’Leary, a researcher in applied psychology, calls a 10-20 minute “body scan.” It involves sitting up straight and focusing on your breathing as you gradually bring attention to each part of your body. You can learn more about the exercise and some of the benefits of mindfulness on WebMD.

Need to learn more about mindfulness and what will it do for you? We’ll connect you to the best mindfulness coach, contact us today!

Mindfulness