EP2: How Mindfulness Can Help You Live Your Best Life
In this second episode of the Best Life (Coach) Podcast, we are discussing Mindfulness.
- What Mindfulness means to us
- The tools we use to practice Mindfulness
- What the science says about how Mindfulness can help us all live our best life
- And some of our favourite Mindfulness quotes
Be sure to subscribe and tune in to new episodes on the 1st Thursday of every month!
Best Life Coach Collective 0:00
Intro (music by DJ Aly Abji)
Melissa Byone 0:18
Hey guys, welcome to the Best Life (Coach) Podcast. Welcome to our second episode today. Hey. Let’s start off How was your week Sarah?
Sarah Mae 0:37
Um, it’s going well, I moved well, almost two months ago, but I’m still unpacking. So there’s that. But yeah, it’s getting getting more laid out in the way I want it to be. And I’m still just enjoying the amazing view that I have of the Vancouver skyline. So that’s me. How about you Steph?
Stephanie Nelb 0:59
Nice. Yeah, I have been thoroughly cleaning my house just doing a deep clean. Everyone talks about spring cleaning all the time. But you know, you’ve only do it once a year. It’s not really enough. So I did a fall clean. And yeah, just have everything in the right place. And it’s just putting my mind in a very calm place. So yeah, it’s great. What about you, Melissa?
Melissa Byone 1:23
I am just living my best life. Waking up in the morning walking down to the beach taking some time, just to be with nature.
Stephanie Nelb 1:37
Don’t rub it in too much!
Sarah Mae 1:39
“Just walking down to the beach”. It’s like pouring rain on my beach…
Stephanie Nelb 1:45
There you go.
Melissa Byone 1:46
Yeah, no, I mean, my dog appreciates it. So I’ve got to do it. Right. I don’t know. It’s the little things that keep me sane.
Sarah Mae 1:56
Melissa Byone 1:58
So speaking of the things that keep us sane. This week, we are talking about mindfulness. Sarah, can you tell me a little bit about what it means to you?
Sarah Mae 2:10
Yeah, sure. So one of the most common definitions of the state of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn who says, “mindfulness is the awareness arises from paying attention, on purpose in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” So that really sends up sums up very well for me what mindfulness is. For me, it’s just being present in the moment, and not worrying about everything else that’s going on thinking about the future, not thinking about the past, just being able to enjoy what’s going on, and repeat myself. Just being able to enjoy what’s going on.
Melissa Byone 2:49
I feel out of all of us, well, I can only speak for myself, I guess, you have a really great understanding of what mindfulness is.
Sarah Mae 2:59
Yeah, I think I think that people get caught up in understanding what it is when really it is just being present in the moment. And all of the things that we do that are mindfulness practices are literally that their practice for being present in the moment. And people always say, Oh, I’m not good at mindfulness. I’m not. And that’s the whole point of the practice. Nobody’s good at anything without the practice. So
Melissa Byone 3:26
Yeah, I think like that keyword practice is something people should kind of latch on to a little bit. Okay,
Sarah Mae 3:35
What does it mean for you?
Melissa Byone 3:39
Mindfulness for me is yeah, just being present in the moment. Like an example, this week, I was out and about in on my phone and didn’t even like, notice my dog peeing on a bike. And I was like, “No, Melissa! This is bad! You need to be present!” Um, so I put my phone away. And I was just like, there with him. And we had a lovely walk. But it was kind of like this, this trigger there like that I’m not paying attention. Like it’s, it’s just so simple to just go on a 10 minute walk and just be present and all the things that you notice, instead of like, just scrolling through your phone, like we all like to do.
Sarah Mae 4:28
Yeah, it’s a big distraction.
Stephanie Nelb 4:29
But what a great way that you were able to recognize it in the moment that you weren’t, you know, mindful, you weren’t present. And you pulled yourself back and were able to continue the rest of your walk with that presence and mindfulness. Yeah, half the battle right there.
Melissa Byone 4:47
Yeah. It really is!
Sarah Mae 4:51
That’s why we practice.
Melissa Byone 4:52
Stephanie Nelb 4:52
Sarah Mae 4:53
I can see it. Yeah.
Melissa Byone 4:57
What about you Steph? What does it mean for you?
Stephanie Nelb 4:59
Yeah, for me, I would say it’s it really is about that present moment and firing on all cylinders in that present moment. And, you know, being aware of the touch the smell the taste of whatever it is around you. And the more you do it, as you said, Sarah, the practice is what makes it better. And with that comes less stress, less anxiety, and just more awareness of your environment. How has it helped each of you?
Melissa Byone 5:36
I would say mindfulness has helped me to be more present to notice when I’m not present, like a practice for me is just taking like setting a timer and taking five minutes and just paying attention to myself breathe. I find so often that I am a multitasker. I try to do so many things at once. And don’t just focus on one. So just sitting there, breathing, like I tried to do it in the morning. And when I do that consistently, I can find myself throughout the day, like coming back to my breath when I need it. Like, sometimes that means just like a really big sigh. Like, I’ve got so much pent up going on. I just need to. And then I feel like I can be here again. See how that’s how it’s helped me. by you, Sarah.
Sarah Mae 6:38
I felt really beautiful. I feel like I’m going to take a big breath
Stephanie Nelb 6:42
I know, I felt it just as you took the breath.
Melissa Byone 6:45
Why don’t we all take like a deep breath together?
Stephanie Nelb 6:48
Let’s do it.
Melissa Byone 6:49
Sarah Mae 7:00
I just feel so grounding. I love it.
Stephanie Nelb 7:04
To shift the energy immediately,
Sarah Mae 7:06
Melissa Byone 7:07
More at ease, Yeah.
Sarah Mae 7:10
Mindfulness has been present in my life ever since I was like a teenager, I learned to meditate when I was 11. And I feel very fortunate from that I just had a woman come into my school and teach workshop on meditation, I happened to go and there’s probably like four other kids there or something, it was not a lot of people interested. But in that I learned to do things like follow my breath. And I learned that I have like a place inside me that I that is always safe. We called it our inner sanctuary then. So I always have that place to go to where I can feel feel safe. So well meditation is just one form of practice for mindfulness, it’s really been around my whole life. In the last two years of daily meditation, that I’ve meditated for at least 10 minutes a day, every day, not missing a day. And that has been incredible. The people around me even know it and see the difference. I’m more grounded, I am better able to, like find the pause in a moment. And instead of reacting, actually consciously deciding how I’m going to respond, which is probably been like the biggest benefit that I’ve seen. But I do it in the morning. Usually, sometimes, like once in a while, I won’t have time, or I’ll forget in the morning, and then I’ll make sure I do it before I go to bed. But every morning just is a great way to start my day, I’ve already done something for myself, or it’s already like a win. And it just sets my mood for the rest of the day and being like calm and present. And just that exact same feeling that we just had carried throughout my day.
Stephanie Nelb 9:09
Yeah, that’s really impactful. I mean, your morning routine, and what you do in those first couple hours of the day, affect that mood for the entire day to your point. So the fact that you’re able to fit meditation in and really set yourself up for success is amazing.
Sarah Mae 9:24
Yeah, it’s been life-changing, really.
Melissa Byone 9:28
So meditation can sometimes sound a little bit scary. If you’ve never tried it before. You’re like, I don’t know how. So how have you approached mindfulness with your clients?
Stephanie Nelb 9:43
Yeah, so I could start with that one. So first and foremost, just making sure that they’re in the right headspace coming into the session. So sometimes, you know, we have busy lives and clients might be coming in distracted or just, you know, really worked up with whatever was going on and stressed out right before their session. And so really just helping them to take that moment to pause, maybe take a deep breath, like we just did. And then have that shift your perspective before you even start a session makes for a much more impactful session for the client.
Sarah Mae 10:22
Yeah, I wouldn’t say that I’ve done a lot of like meditation with clients, but mindfulness for sure, just getting grounded and present at the beginning of the session, and kind of feeling into your body. And that present momentness is where I come at it with with clients. As for meditation, being often thought it’s something that is difficult, I feel like that really comes from a misunderstanding of what meditation is, because you see these like, how like Yogi’s and gurus that look like they’re like, oh, like, they can sit there for five hours in complete silence, doing, doing nothing. And sure that something that people do, and it’s valuable. I mean, people meditate for days on retreats. But that doesn’t have to be what it is. And the idea that you can sit there and turn your mind off is like, nonsense. If you turn your mind off, you’d be dead. We always have thoughts, it’s that that’s why meditation as a form of mindfulness practice, is a practice of being able to notice that you’re thinking and go back to the breath, count your breaths, maybe go back to just to how your hands are feeling on your lap, just like thinking about that sensation, and not thinking about the thoughts anymore. And maybe like, half a second later, you start thinking again, you notice you go back to the feeling in your hands or your breath. That’s the practice. And I think anyone can do that. Really.
Stephanie Nelb 11:54
Yeah. And that’s a really critical thing to call it to, like it’s acknowledging that these thoughts are coming up and having the compassion for yourself and for your thoughts to just let them come and go, not to ruminate over them, not to fixate on them, just let them pass by it’s a thought it’s not who you are, and recognizing that really can create growth.
Melissa Byone 12:22
Yeah, I’ve always thought about when I’m sitting there just being present. When something pops in my head, like I kind of just think of it as a cloud, like floating by. And oh, hello, thought thank you for coming. Goodbye now. And just letting it go just like that. Yeah.
Sarah Mae 12:46
I think it’s really important to, to highlight because still, today, people, so many people out there identify who they are and their identity with their thoughts. And we are not our thoughts. They’re just thoughts. They don’t mean anything unless we place meaning on them. So again, having that practice of, like, it’s a thought it’s come, it’s gone on to the next thing, I think it can can really be a big change for a lot of people.
What kinds of tools do you use when you’re practicing mindfulness?
Stephanie Nelb 13:30
There’s so many great resources out there. You know, as far as meditation goes, there are a variety of different apps that you can use. So the Calm app, I know that’s a really popular one. You know, but even if you’re someone who has a Peloton subscription now that so many people are working out from home, they have mindfulness or meditation on there as well. So there are a lot of different ways that you can find these resources.
Melissa Byone 13:56
Yeah, if you’re new to mindfulness and meditation, I think trying out a guided meditation is a good way to start even just five or 10 minutes. Save that time for yourself, because you really do feel different afterwards. And yeah, so starting with a guided meditation, I think it’s a really good place to start. Calm is a really good one. YouTube has a ton. I love to use Insight Timer. What I really enjoy doing is just setting a silent timer that dings in the beginning and dings at the end for 10 minutes and just sitting and focusing on my breathing. I got there by starting off with guided meditations.
Sarah Mae 14:49
Yeah, I use a bunch of different meditation apps. I like the variety so I have the Calm app and it has a really good 28 day meditation. The intro to Meditation that’s like 10 minutes a day is a really great place to start. The Breethe app also has its I think it’s actually a 13 Week Intro to meditation. So that is also really good. And then there’s an app called Balance that goes a lot more into learning the different techniques that you can do during meditation and mindfulness techniques. And it uses AI to see based on like your answers and responses to what you’re doing throughout to adjust a plan for you. The last I saw, they were doing a free subscription for a year. So that is possibly still out there. And then there’s tons of resources, just if you google them for mindfulness practices, such as, like going for a walk can be mindfulness, you don’t need to be meditating. It’s just being present. So if you go for a walk, make sure that you’re not thinking about tomorrow, or like ruminating on the past. And just like noticing how gorgeous the trees look, or the smell of the wet pavement, or whatever it is, in the moment that mindfulness, or like mindfully eating is a really big form of mindfulness as well really paying attention to what we what we eat, because so often we like just scarf down our food and don’t even notice what it is. And but if you actually take the time to like really taste like what a blueberry tastes like, it’s delicious. So you’re missing out, if you’re not practicing mindfulness, sometimes at least well, eating.
Stephanie Nelb 16:39
Yeah, just that as well. It’s a good one with the mindful eating and walking, really focusing on nature. But yeah, like I challenge everyone listening, you know, take a piece of chocolate or some other dessert that you like, and just try and eat it bit by bit, just take off a little bite and let it just sit in your mouth and let your mouth quietly warm the chocolate and melted away. And it really does taste better when you do it that way. It’s incredible.
Sarah Mae 17:10
I do that with my morning coffee.
Stephanie Nelb 17:13
That’s a good one. We do like our coffee.
Melissa Byone 17:19
I try to take something that I don’t typically enjoy. And be mindful about it, which is cleaning the dishes. Because so often it’s like, let’s hurry up and do them and move on to the next thing. But I’m like, no, like, this is something that I do every day. And Gosh, darn it, I’m gonna find a way to enjoy it. Just being fully present in that time and then acknowledging like, like, I did this, like I did this thing.
Sarah Mae 17:51
I love that
Stephanie Nelb 17:53
That’s a good one
Melissa Byone 17:58
So with all this talk about mindfulness and meditation, there has to be a reason why we’re doing this. So what does the science say?
Sarah Mae 18:11
Oh, well, people have been studying mindfulness for ages. But it’s only been more recently that Western science is starting to take it seriously. So the latest research on long-term meditators by neuroscientists Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman, provides scientific confirmation that sustained practice can bring about lasting changes in brain function. According to Davidson, and Goldman, meditation dramatically ups the limits on psychological sciences ideas of human possibility. Which is super exciting.
Stephanie Nelb 18:47
Yeah, and to latch on to that with another study. You know, obviously, these days, everyone’s putting a focus on health and just really making sure they’re as healthy as possible. There was actually a 2016 study published in the New York Academy of Sciences. And it found that regular mindfulness can actually help reduce inflammation, increase cell defences, and guard against cell ageing. So there’s a lot of different ways that mindfulness can benefit you.
Melissa Byone 19:56
Yeah, it’s crazy how meditation can reshape your brain, decreased stress levels, reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, and just give you a better way to pay attention to your life, increasing your quality of life. And then one of the coolest things I’ve heard is the neuroplasticity. So your brain finding new ways, new neural pathways, and really being able to build the muscle that is your brain and strengthen it, so that it can keep working longer and better and faster.
Sarah Mae 20:44
Yeah, super interesting. There was one important MIT study where researchers found volunteers who took an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, were able to focus more than the control group that hadn’t done the training. So it really improves your focus, which I find helpful.
Stephanie Nelb 21:04
And actually, I’ll latch on to that, because I found another study very similar in 2009, where meditation had increased information processing speeds, so really just helping you to fire on all cylinders.
Melissa Byone 21:19
Yeah, so a study at the University of Wisconsin actually showed that 10 minutes of breath counting helped with the damaging effects of heavy-duty multitasking. Is that one of the best benefits for me.
Sarah Mae 21:35
Yeah, you’re saying you like to multitask earlier?
Melissa Byone 21:38
I know, I know.
Sarah Mae 21:43
I was also reading. I forget the name of the book, or maybe it was a podcast. Anyway, they were talking about how mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase compassion. And so they did a study with volunteers going through compassion training, and that throughout that study, it showed that the people in the training donated twice as much money than the control group after which I thought was fascinating. We can all use more compassion in the world, right?
Melissa Byone 22:13
Absolutely. Well, that’s a lot of science to back up everything that we’ve talked about today. Is there anything else that we need to touch on about mindfulness?
Sarah Mae 22:25
I think we’re gonna share some quotes that we that we’d like to about mindfulness. How about we how would we do that?
Melissa Byone 22:30
Yeah. Let’s, let’s leave everyone with a couple of quotes that I love that. Yeah, I’ll start. When that’s really kind of touched me is by Jon Kabat-Zinn, “You’re only here now you’re only alive in this moment.”
Sarah Mae 22:49
Beautiful. Yeah. I love that. My quote was by Amit Ray, who says, “Life is a dance mindfulness is witnessing that dance.”
Stephanie Nelb 23:02
Love that. And so I had another quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn says, “Mindfulness means being awake, it means knowing what you are doing.”
Melissa Byone 23:18
So Real. Yeah.
Sarah Mae 23:20
And Jon Kabat-Zinn is a great person to go out and look up and follow if you’re interested in mindfulness because he started the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program. So there’s a lot out there if you want to look him up.
Melissa Byone 23:34
Yeah, that was one of the studies that you mentioned. was based on that. Yeah. Great. Well, thank you all for joining us today. Tell us what you think. Leave us a review. Subscribe. And I guess we’ll see you next time.
Stephanie Nelb 23:53
In the meantime, go live your Best Life!
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Last modified: February 4, 2022
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