What is Mindfulness-Based Coaching and can it Help You?
- Do you often feel stressed and overwhelmed, and like you can’t possibly remember all you have to do?
- Do you find yourself finishing a meal without even remembering what you ate, and not having really tasted the food?
- Do you ever get in you car at point A, and arrive at point B without remembering how you got there?
- Does it ever feel like you have so much to do that you can’t even make yourself begin?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, Mindfulness-Based Coaching may be for you. I’m so excited about the results my clients are having, as well as how much this has helped me, that I wanted to share a bit about it here.
Janine, a young mom, came to see me because she was starting a new business venture, and wanted to line up all her ducks in a row before she rolled the business out. She was tense, overwhelmed, and convinced she couldn’t do it.
I began by teaching her a mindfulness exercise (see below) so that she could center and come into her body, and let go of some of her intrusive thoughts that didn’t seem to be getting her anywhere. When she quieted her mind, she realized that she felt fear.
What she wanted was to be self-supporting, doing the work she loved. She wanted this because it would give her freedom and more time to be with her young family.
What was stopping her was the fear she was experiencing. As a child her parents had always let her off the hook; if she didn’t like something, she was allowed to quit, thus she never completed anything, and therefore believed that she wasn’t good at anything. She examined this belief and realized that the truth was that she didn’t know if she could succeed or not because she had never tried.
So I coached her to take one small step each day that would bring her closer to her goal. When she started to feel overwhelmed, or the old ‘I can’t’ belief came up, she was to stop and practice the mindfulness exercise she had learned. This would bring her back to what was true for her in the present and she could then resume her action step.
Gradually, over 3 months, she was able to complete the tasks she needed to do, slowly and sanely, got her business off the ground and began to see it grow.
So what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness simply put means awareness. You train to become more aware of your thoughts, your body and your surroundings. Formal practice is usually called Mindfulness meditation and involves becoming still, quieting your mind and bringing your attention to an object, such as the breath, for a specified period of time.
How to Practice Mindfulness:
First, focus on your the breath, (or whatever you want your object of awareness to be). You can start by putting both hands on your belly and following the rise and fall of your abdomen with each inhale and exhale.
It’s helpful to begin by counting 10 breaths; an inhale and an exhale equals one count. Slowly you can add more time in 5-minute increments.
At the same time, become aware of your thoughts and the sensations in your body. Then, when you find your mind drifting off in thought, as its sure to do, simply say to yourself, ‘thinking’, and return your attention to your breath. Or when you feel a place in your body that’s tense or uncomfortable, bring your awareness to that place and say sensation, then return your attention to your belly and your breath.
Next, begin to bring this awareness into your daily life by designating one small activity each day, such as brushing your teeth, as a time when you’ll place all of your attention on what you’re doing. Every time the mind wanders away in thought, simply note ‘thinking’, as mentioned above, and gently bring the mind back to the brushing and the sensations you’re experiencing.
Gradually, you can add more activities, or set a timer as a reminder during the day to take 10 mindful breaths.
Sounds simple, but our minds are so habituated to runaway thoughts, that just being fully present in the moment with the smallest of tasks can seem challenging in the beginning.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness Practice?
Through the practice of mindfulness, we become more relaxed, de-stressed, and less frenetic in our lives. There are proven health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, decreased risk of heart attack and stroke, and even weight control.
Being mindful, we are able to focus our attention on the matter at hand and diffuse distracting, intrusive thoughts. We soften a bit and slow down, while paradoxically getting more done. We are at ease with ourselves.
What is Mindfulness-Based Coaching?
As described above with Janine, Mindfulness-Based Coaching refers to a process of inquiry, where I ask a series of questions designed to elicit responses about what you want or would like to have in your life, what having that will do for you and the people around you, and what stops you from having what you want. I then ask you to begin to take small steps to move toward having the life you’d like to live.
We continually come back to being present in the moment, as I did with Janine. Being mindful helps us go deeper and see what is actually true in any given situation, as opposed to old beliefs and ideas about ourselves that may no longer hold water.
What are the benefits of Mindfulness Based Coaching?
My clients tell me that my coaching has helped them:
- Be able to have what they want most in their lives without stressing about it
- Lose weight by becoming more mindful when they are eating
- Live life to the fullest by helping them be fully present with the ones who are most important to them
- Feel more relaxed because they know exactly what it is they need to focus on next
Who can benefit from Mindfulness -Based Coaching?
Anyone who wants to feel more relaxed, healthy, fulfilled, and joyful, and is willing to make some changes in his or her life.
Sign up to a FREE 30 minute Discovery Session:
If this resonates with you and is something you’d like to try, I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 30 minute Skype session.