Tuesday, 24 May 2022
Paul McCann began learning about meditation and mindfulness more than 20 years ago and understands its power to transform our lives. As a teacher, practitioner and student himself, he shares seven mindful practices to help you tap into your potential.
“When I first started, I thought you had to go and sit in a cave for months or live like a monk before you would benefit from meditation,” Paul said. “Turns out, it doesn’t have to be that hard or take much time. But, like any habit, the more you practice, the more it becomes part of your life.”
“In the natural health field, it’s important to be mindful. As practitioners, we must integrate it into our day, or we will burn out. Besides, if you can be present for the person in front of you, you hold the space, focussing your heart and mind in the present moment, which provides a safe space for them to express what they need.”
“Here are seven simple ways I bring mindfulness into my day. Ultimately, everyone needs to work out what suits their body and lifestyle.”
“When I get up, I do different breathwork exercises. Breathwork fires up my system and helps clear my head as I start the day,” Paul said. “Breathwork can also help reduce stress and anxiety and increase your feelings of gratitude and connection.”
“Exercise has many benefits for our physical and mental health. Practices like yoga and tai chi have taught me about coming back into my body, helping me cultivate healthy ways of moving,” Paul said. “But taking your dog for a run, dancing or getting up from your desk and walking around campus can also help you be present.”
“Take a moment before you walk through the door. This can simply mean taking a few conscious belly breaths to notice where you are and where you’re breathing. Reflect on what’s driving you. Keep in mind that many of us are in a healing profession because we’re seeking help ourselves. We need to leave our stuff at the door when we treat others.”
“To listen fully, you need to be fully present,” Paul said. “We listen with all our senses. For example, our eyes might notice something flicker across a client or friend’s face that we need to return to and question. Allowing people to feel heard is powerful.”
“Technology is part of our lives, but I know it can also be a major distraction. The time we spend flipping between devices, apps and newsfeeds is time lost checking in on ourselves or others,” Paul said. “Use technology to help you learn but know when to put it down and move it out of reach.”
“We expect to be able to work or study in different environments or on the go, especially since the pandemic. But too much chaos, noise or distraction doesn’t work for me. I set up my desk and space to make it clear and conducive to study or work. I also set aside time for study and give it my full attention.”
“Everyone needs something to feed their spirit – whether that’s social time, exercise or music,” Paul said.” Remember to put your studies aside at times and indulge your spirit. It will help you monitor your feelings about study and sustain your motivation in the long-term.”
Enrich your life and share it with those around you. Take a look at our Mental Health and Wellness Short Courses.
"One of the most important things I learnt was that change doesn’t have to be drastic. It can start small and evolve from there."
- Sarah Marshall