Last Saturday I headed into town to attend a ‘Lucky Things Meet-Up’ organised by the inspirational Sunita of Lucky Things. I was particularly excited to attend this one as the speaker was Dr Tamara Russell, a clinical psychologist and expert in mindfulness. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of her new book while I was there too.
So here’s what I took away from the session:
The Transitional Pause Practice
Tamara began the session with her own twist on a 3-step practice. She guided us through a practice to:
- notice what emotional ‘baggage’ we were bringing with us to the room in that moment
- focus on our breath to ground us in that present moment
- set ourselves an intention to help us get the most from the next few moments in our day
Be Realistic About Your Mindfulness Practice
This is something I’ve felt personally for some time now but it was refreshing to hear this from someone with such academic weight behind them. So often mindfulness practitioners are very set on the amount of practice that people should be doing. Of course someone who is embarking on an 8 week MBSR or MBCT course should be aware of the expectation that their daily practice may well be as much as 45 minutes per day. Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn the original format of mindfulness was for people suffering from chronic illness. However, not everyone may want, or need, to commit to this level of meditative practice. Dr Russell also recommended that people be open to doing mindfulness ‘on the go’ and discussed mindfulness for busy people. This is something that the politician Tracey Crouch also spoke about in the summer.
Mindfulness is About Being Able to be Okay When Things Are Not Okay
Dr Tamara Russell reminded the audience that mindfulness is not all about looking for the positive. It is about being accepting of every emotion and all the different shades of the emotional spectrum that there is – light or dark, positive or negative – that take us over at different times in the day, and in life.
Mindfulness Helps Us Be More Open to Learn From Our Mistakes
She also spoke about how often guilt, blame or shame can stop people learning from their mistakes. We were told that the more aware we are of our emotional state the better we will be at seeing learning opportunities when things go wrong. Makes sense to me.
Keep The 3 Cs in Mind!
Dr Russell talked about the core aspects of mindfulness being pared down to three key words. These words can help when facing challenges in our day. Simply ask ourselves at this moment do we need to be:
If you’d like to find out more about Dr Tamara Russell click here.