Mindfulness Coach

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.

MINDFULNESS COACHING – Be Mindful, Be You!


What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond.

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Why Practice Mindfulness?


Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits. Here are some of these benefits, which extend across many different settings.

Mindfulness is good for our bodies: A seminal study found that, after just eight weeks of training, practicing mindfulness meditation boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness.

Mindfulness changes our brains: Research has found that it increases density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.

Mindfulness helps us focus: Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us tune out distractions and improves our memory and attention skills.

Mindfulness fights obesity: Practicing “mindful eating” encourages healthier eating habits, helps people lose weight, and helps them savor the food they do eat.

Mindfulness helps prisons: Evidence suggests mindfulness reduces anger, hostility, and mood disturbances among prisoners by increasing their awareness of their thoughts and emotions, helping with their rehabilitation and reintegration.

Mindfulness helps veterans: Studies suggest it can reduce the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of war.

Mindfulness helps health care professionals cope with stress, connect with their patients, and improve their general quality of life. It also helps mental health professionals by reducing negative emotions and anxiety, and increasing their positive emotions and feelings of self-compassion.

Mindfulness enhances relationships: Research suggests mindfulness training makes couples more satisfied with their relationship, makes each partner feel more optimistic and relaxed, and makes them feel more accepting of and closer to one another.

Mindfulness is good for our minds: Several studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress. Indeed, at least one study suggests it may be as good as antidepressants in fighting depression and preventing relapse.

Mindfulness helps schools: There’s scientific evidence that teaching mindfulness in the classroom reduces behavior problems and aggression among students, and improves their happiness levels and ability to pay attention. Teachers trained in mindfulness also show lower blood pressure, less negative emotion and symptoms of depression, and greater compassion and empathy.

Mindfulness fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness training makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well.

Mindfulness is good for parents and parents-to-be: Studies suggest it may reduce pregnancy-related anxiety, stress, and depression in expectant parents. Parents who practice mindfulness report being happier with their parenting skills and their relationship with their kids, and their kids were found to have better social skills.

Why Mindfulness is needed in Education?


The Impact of Toxic Stress on School Communities

Healthy stress is a natural part of life, including childhood. Children and adults alike need to be challenged in order to grow and develop. However, in the modern education system, healthy stress is frequently displaced by toxic stress. Toxic stress occurs when life’s demands consistently outpace our ability to cope with those demands.

STUDENTS

Toxic stress impairs attention, emotion and mood regulation, sleep, and learning readiness daily in classrooms all over the world. Even more troubling, prolonged exposure to childhood toxic stress has lifelong impacts on mental and physical health.

EDUCATORS

Toxic stress starts as decreased productivity and creativity, escalating to more serious symptoms like frequent anxiety, dissociation, frustration, and, eventually, burnout. Roughly half a million U.S. teachers leave the profession each year – a turnover rate of over 20 percent, which goes up-to 60 percent in Dubai.

PARENTS

Toxic stress can lead to a parenting style that looks more like a “to-do” list, rather than an empathic, present-centered relationship with a developing child. Exposure to parental stress in early childhood has been shown to impact gene expression even years later in adolescence.

toxic stress

The Difficulty of Working with Toxic Stress

Toxic stress is challenging to work with because our stress response taps into some very old survival hardware in our evolutionary biology.When a 4th grader reports that she felt she “was going to die” from test anxiety, she’s telling the truth. The responses of her autonomic nervous system are the same whether she’s taking a math test or sensing actual physical danger.

Even children who have not suffered adverse childhood experiences may struggle with frequent “mismatches” between the severity of a stimulus (a routine pop quiz) and their response (loss of peripheral vision, sweating, nausea, terror and immobility). In children suffering from trauma, these “mismatches” become chronic and habitual.

The Solution: Mindfulness


Because the roots of toxic stress lie deep in the nervous system, we need tools that go beyond the conceptual mind to directly target that system. To transform our habitual responses, we need to regularly practice our skills when we are not in “fight – flight – freeze” mode.

“Under duress we don’t rise to our expectations, we fall to our level of training.”
-Bruce Lee

My courses establish stress management, emotion regulation and interpersonal skills.

Age Group – 5-17 years

Solid scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness interventions improve attention, self-control, and emotional resilience, recovery from addiction, memory and immune response. Here’s a summary of benefits particularly relevant to educators:

Strengthens our "mental muscle" for bringing focus back where we want it, when we want it.

Observing our emotions helps us recognize when they occur, to see their transient nature, and to change how we respond to them.

Becoming aware of our patterns enables us to gradually change habitual behaviors wisely.

Awareness of our own thoughts, emotions, and senses grows our understanding of what other people are experiencing.

Breathing and other mindfulness practices relax the body and mind, giving access to peace independent of external circumstances.

Seeing things objectively reduces the amount of narrative we add to the world's natural ups and downs, giving us greater balance.

Age Group – 18+ years

It improves our ability to manage a number of significant psychological challenges associated with stress, including:

Overwhelm. The sense that life – and particularly your own thoughts and emotions – is “too much to handle.”

Busyness. The sense that “doing things” has become compulsive – that you are constantly avoiding simply being with yourself.

Rumination. The sense that the same stressful thought patterns “loop” over and over again in your mind without being questioned.

Dissociation. The sense that you maintain unhealthy psychological distance from life and from people, cut off from your own and other people’s emotions.

Narcissism. The sense that life is about defending, protecting and enhancing one’s sense of self. A lack of empathy for the needs of others and an inability to take compassionate action.