The Heartfulness Project ran four successful workshops in the Heart of London over Feb/March 2018
Working with the City of London’s Business Healthy Initiative and alongside Mental Fight Club and Dragon Cafe, Dr. Tamara Russell and Dr. Maya Campbell delivered four short workshops exploring compassion and heart health in the City of London (details below).
These sessions drew from a longer 10-week training program that is being offered in London from May 2nd, 2018.
Urban living and working brings some particularly challenges (including getting to work without your head exploding).
Given that the commute often looks like this it’s no wonder we need to do something to calm down, re connect, and take care of our physiology.
It doesn’t help to start you day with such a massive dose of adrenaline, plus caffeine, plus all the cortisol generated by internal stressors (thoughts, plans, worries etc).
Below, the four workshops are described. These are available to organizations who wish to offer Hearthealth programs for their staff (short workshops and also longer courses available).
1. Get into the Green – in this workshop, participants learn the basics of Gilbert’s three modes model. They reflect on how they spend their time and determine which mode is their predominant way of living. For many of us, this is red (threat) and blue (doing and striving). Just getting to work can put us in the red and then we are surprised when it’s difficult to think straight.
Our green mode (calm, contented, relaxed and safe) is often neglected. This is why we need help to figure out how we can get into the green and take care of ourselves. This has a positive impact on both our physical (especially heart) and mental health. We can use our mind and our body to help us get into the green.
Try this right now..….become aware of your pace of walking. Notice if you are rushing, see if you can slow down and still cover ground but in a way that is more gentle for your body. You choose the pace of your life!
Check what you are carrying (your bag), are you carrying it in a way that is gentle for your body? Are there any options that are kinder to your body?
What about checking out Happy Maps – deliberately find a route to work that will bring a smile to your face and make sure you arrive in the green, rather than red as you start your day.
Benefits of Getting into the Green: More connected, more contented, better collaboration, creativity and innovation. Physical health is improved by reducing cortisol and adrenaline in the system. Thinking is clearer and more directed when coming from a place of green rather than red.
2. The Courage to Care – Being compassionate is not a soft option. It requires us to really feel and experience what is going on but at the same time, be able to act wisely. Sometimes acting wisely means not doing anything or even, taking care of yourself.
We often find this very difficult, especially those who work in the caring professions and those working in extreme competitive environments (corporate environments). Much of our current way of working asks us to leapfrog over self and other care in order to reach certain goals and targets. We can easily lose our humanity in the testosterone and dopamine-fuelled race to “the top”. The costs of this approach are all to clear in our society today affecting not only other human beings but also the very planet we live on.
Time for change. But who has the courage to care? Are you willing to have less? To let go? To be ok with who you are rather than needing the trappings of consumer culture to make your mark? Big questions ….we need to start asking.
Being and living with an open heart means that at some point, your heart will break. Having a broken heart means that it is likely your heart is wide open. Learning how to live in this way takes a great deal of personal strength and commitment. And yet, the benefits appear very quickly with this approach to life.
Try this now…… see if you can, for the next 15 mins or even 1 hour, make decisions where you will check in with yourself “is this kind?”
This question may be in relation to yourself or someone else. Can you have a period of the day where you CHOOSE to make decisions that have kindness and care as their main intention or driver? Working with intention is really helpful as it tunes the mind prior to any decisions made. If you are interested in Intention join the Intention Matters Facebook group to keep abreast of Tamara’s new book (co writing with Juliet Adams).
3. Turning your Inner Critic into an Inner Coach – working with the inner voice is a key part of the self compassion work. When we start to tune into the mind and see we are saying to ourselves on a regular basis we can get a shock.
We are often speaking to ourselves in ways we would never dream of speaking to others! Part of this work then is to a) discover our habitual ways of relating to our minds, emotions and experiences; b) check that these are healthy and helping us get into the green (not putting us more in the red, that doesn’t make sense!) and c) deliberately choose an internal tone of voice and language that will support us and help us to move forwards. This can be helpful no matter what our circumstances.
This is a beautiful film about how those with even very distressing internal voices can work with compassion.
Try This Now……make a note of how you react next time you make a mistake. What was the tone of the voice you used to speak to yourself after you noticed the error? Can you experiment with choosing a kinder voice – what did that evoke?
4. Heart-Teach (the Heartfulness Way) – there are lots of apps and devices out there now to monitor every aspect of our physiology. Maya showed participants the HeartMath system that she uses to help her monitor her heart. Most dramatically, she showed us traces from her heart in “normal” life and contrasted that with a trace from a time after she had been on meditation/self compassion retreat.
Maya has been using this biofeedback method to help her refine her compassion practices and really ensure that what is being offered is something that directly impacts on heart health. You can see some videos of Maya on Youtube, talking about her experience and her passion to help others based on what she has researched and understood from her multiple perspectives.
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