Mini Lessons + Guided Exercises
When we feel stressed, our instinct is to throttle forward and try to fix or control the external things that are stressing us out. This makes perfect sense, but sometimes, paradoxically, the most effective response is to pause and take care of what’s happening inside our minds and our bodies. Instead of chasing the elusive calm “out there”, tuning in – in a kind way – is a highly effective strategy for uncovering the calm we so deeply want. In this video, we explore what it’s like to pause and allow calm to arise from within.
Your physiology and mindset undergo subtle yet significant shifts with the change of seasons. Mindfulness practice helps you bring awareness to these shifts and align yourself with the wisdom of each season so you can avoid unhelpful resistance and use your energy more constructively. In this video, you'll tap into the wisdom of fall by slowing down, tuning in, and welcoming the release and renewal that Autumn brings.
Shift your perspective on mindfulness from another nagging task on your to-do list to a refreshing pit stop for your mind and body. Just a handful of minutes is enough to help you reboot your brain and nervous system and re-engage those to-do's with fresh energy and focus.
In moments of stress, it's often our instinct to rush or juggle multiple tasks in an effort to resolve the issues at hand. Yet, the most fruitful course of action is almost always to PAUSE and deliberately carve out mental and physical space. By allowing your mind and body to settle for even a few minutes, you can replenish your inner resources and tap into a fresh perspective that yields new insights as you return to the task of problem-solving. This guided exercise offers a thought-provoking poem and guided visual imagery of a forest to illuminate this process of skillfully creating a “clearing” in your everyday life.
“Small mind” is your thinking, intellectual mind and the ruminative mental space from which you usually operate. “Big mind” is the broader, more expansive perspective of AWARENESS, and the part of the mind that knows and observes your thinking. Through practice, you can learn to shift into “big mind” to calm and reset your nervous system and also open up to a wider mental field of awareness in which creative insights and fresh ideas can emerge.
The world-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson identified four key pillars of wellbeing that we can train through intentional practice: 1. ATTENTION 2. OUTLOOK (PERSPECTIVE) 3. RESILIENCE 4. GENEROSITY This guided exercise zooms in on the pillar of ATTENTION and underscores how taking small moments each day to reclaim this valuable resource is one of the most meaningful things we can do. It also emphasizes the quality of NON-STRIVING and the invitation to cultivate concentration not by exerting more effort, but by relaxing into it.
Anxiety is often fueled by irrational thoughts or stories that are not rooted in reality. When you “drop the story” and any negative labels (“this is bad,” “I am panicking,” etc) and pay direct attention to the sensations in your body, you shift out of your survival brain (amygdala) and into your wise brain (prefrontal cortex), which helps you gain perspective and deescalate anxious thoughts. This practice offers a powerful reading by Jeff Foster called “What Would Happen…” and a guided exercise to help you recognizing the liberating truth that things are, in Foster’s words, “never as bad as they seem.”
This powerful practice can help you ground and center yourself quickly in the midst of overwhelm and also releases the "happy chemical" oxytocin in your brain to produce a sense of safety and connection.
In the workplace, DOING is necessary. There’s always more to do! But if DOING is the only mode we know how to operate in, we put a lot of strain on our brains and nervous systems and make ourselves increasingly vulnerable to burnout. We also enjoy life a lot less. One of the best ways to build your personal resilience and wellbeing is to learn how to shift into BEING MODE throughout your day to give your mind and body a mini break. In this guided practice, you’ll explore the benefits of taking your foot off of the accelerator, letting go of any specific goals or outcomes, and simply letting yourself be.
Anxiety is something all of us experience as a natural response to the fears and uncertainties of life. While there will always be many things we can't control, we also don't have to live in a state of constant anxiety. Through awareness, we can build our capacity to better understand our minds, relate to our thoughts with curiosity so they don't fuel anxiety, and use body-based tools to de-escalate anxious mind/body states.
With every moment and every breath, we can always choose to begin again. We forget this, and instead get bogged down by should-haves or self criticism. We can practice waking up to the energizing truth that we can actually start fresh, over and over. In the words of Sharon Salzberg, “The amazing gift of being alive is that no matter what, you can always begin again.”
Under duress, we do not rise to our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.
~ BRUCE LEE