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It didn't matter where I went, "I" followed me. No matter how often I changed the environment, the outcomes remained the same.
Eventually I had to acquiesce, "the common denominator must be me".
Easy to say, hard to deal with or perhaps I am unique?
No, not unique, just not ready to undertake the changes needed to achieve the outcomes I was pursuing in this thing called "my life".
To this day, I am a work in progress, I am far from perfect.
I wrestle with a catastrophic, chatterbox mind, daily (if you can relate, hello, let’s be friends).
The dissonance within me said it’s time something has to change. That was around the time I did my first i4 Neuroleader Methodology certification. During this time I was exposed to many tools and approaches – the key was which one and how was I going to use them differently to before.
I think I have now cracked my own code and am able to benefit from the behaviours I have developed to enable me to love taking "I" with me wherever I go while experiencing elements of life that previously were not within reach. Best of all – promise this is the best – being able to have an open dialogue with that catastrophic mindset to ensure I don’t become complacent.
Taking just one example – how I went from a naysayer on meditation to someone who practices meditation daily and as needed. What is meditation, how do you know if you are doing it right – I don’t think I have ever heard a plausible answer to that question. I do know that whatever my version is, it works for me and has enabled me to slow down, be curious, generous and kind.
In June 2016, when I attended the About my Brain Institute’s i4 Neuroleader Certification Program, meditation and mindfulness was discussed as an approach to do super amazing things for one. I, along with many others are a little distrustful of something we can’t quantify, and meditation seems to defy quantification.
Clarity - amongst a litany of benefits, the key one I was looking for was to quieten a chattering mind so that I could be more curious, kind and generous. I wanted to become one of those people who always seemed calm, regardless of the mayhem surrounding them.
A device called Muse, was tabled during the training and I invested in the device. This is the Change element – it provided the environment to help me quantify what I was doing. I struggled at first as when your mind is quiet (alpha brainwaves) you will hear birds singing, so whenever I didn’t hear the bird song, I got tense and the waves crashed even louder until I settled down and re-focussed just on my breathing, then the birds would start singing again.
Consistency (over volume or intensity). How long does one need to meditate for to reap the benefits? Well, that is one of meditation’s seemingly unquantifiable elements. Aside from that - to develop this habit – I started doing just 2 minutes per day for the first week, then I progressed to three minutes, then to five - each time doing this for a week at a time.
Just turning up each day starting out with the 2 minutes – nothing earth shattering was how I approached building the habit. Sometimes it felt too hard, I would stop and not beat myself up, so long as I turned up the next day to do it again. My Muse application notes my longest streak of consecutive days is 314 days – I didn’t make the annual goal – that’s the competitor in me and I am sure exists in many of you.
Celebrate – recognising action. At the end of each week, I would take the time to review the number of minutes and the quality of each meditation in relation to the prior week and I would treat myself to something small but special – in many cases it was a sleep in the following day as I was getting up early to meditate.
Many who are reading this, will have read James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. As he says “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of the systems that support you” – Change & Celebrate and “every action is a vote for the habit you want to build” – Consistency & Clarity.
The beauty of the technology I used (being Muse) is that now whenever I hear a bird sing, I can physically feel my heart rate slow down invoking my parasympathetic nervous system and that is good for all the outcomes I was seeking.
Make sure you tune in to the Brain Friendly Channel to hear about some of the other tools and approaches I absorbed and applied in my journey.
When: May 6 2022 8AM GMT+10
Hosted: Silvia Damiano, Founder, About my Brain Institute
Guest: Bridgit English, Human Experience Specialist & Executive Coach
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Our session will be streamed live on our YouTube Channel, LinkedIn & Facebook! This is an interactive session, feel free to connect with us and ask any questions!
This session will be presented in English. Captions with auto-translate to a language of your choice will be available in our YouTube Channel 72 hours after the event.
Bridgit has worked in customer services roles for all of her career enabling her to hone her listening and empathy skills. Arriving in Australia with no personal network, and a fear of public speaking she joined Toastmasters and earned her Distinguished Toastmasters accreditation in 2004. Bridgit is certified in the i4 Neuroleader Methodology and uses multiple facets of the program in her work with individuals and teams striving to understand and live their purpose.