On Wednesday, October 14, forty seniors, their family members, and senior living professionals—all invited guests of Emerald Heights and sister community Heron’s Key—participated in a webinar on mindfulness philosophy1. Presented by intuitive life coach Marla Williams2, the webinar revealed how people can navigate in The BEING Zone™ in order to better face the crazy things encountered every day and take them in stride. The presentation was well-received, and here we’d like to re-cap the highlights for those who may have missed it. If you’d like to watch the full webinar, including several practical mindfulness philosophy exercises, contact us and we’d be happy to provide you with a link to the full video.
Peace and Calm Through Breathing
Marla posed an interesting initial question to set the webinar in motion. When participants were polled on what was most important to them in life, our participants felt that peacefulness and calm, friends and family and health and wellness were more important than success and money. Marla went onto to explain that one of her main objectives is to teach others how to get into a peaceful and calm place through breathing.
She explained, “Beginning your day in a state of peace and calm can have a direct impact on your health and wellness, that in turn enhances quality time with your family. It all starts with deep breathing and visualization meant to bring you to a calm and centered state at the start of each day. We all have a tendency toward shallow breathing,” said Marla, who took participants through exercises for proper breathing accompanied by soothing visualization and mindfulness exercises. “For your personal well-being, be in the moment,” she advised, “dismissing past experiences and worries about the future.”
We are Hardwired for Worry
“Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere.”
– Erma Bombeck, American humorist
This is one of Marla’s favorite quotes. She admits to inheriting character traits that she’s spent a lifetime overcoming from both her mother and father. “My mother was a worrier,” Marla says, “and my father was highly driven. I inherited both traits at different times in my life and ultimately developed multiple autoimmune and stress-related illnesses. I had to teach myself to turn off, slow down, and take myself to a more mindful place each day.”
Most of us adopt traits that are role-modeled in our youth, Marla explains. “When you’re young, everything becomes part of you and is a major influence on the way you act today,” she says. “As you get older, some of us stay in that space; others are able to move on and really find ourselves. Your thoughts can become physical THINGS and you want to learn to release the negative one. I’m going to show you an exercise that will help you do this.” Let’s start with understanding how many thoughts we have and how they impact us.
The average person has 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of these, 80% are repetitive thoughts and 95% are negative thoughts. One of Marla’s psychology associates, cognitive behavioral therapist Edward Watkins, PhD, says, “The main unconstructive consequences of repetitive thoughts are depression, anxiety, and difficulties in physical health.” And these repetitive thoughts negatively affect well-being. As Marla explains, repetitive thoughts (all the things we learned as a child) live within the subconscious brain where research has proven we spend 90-95% of our time. Dwelling on these thoughts can continue to negatively impact our well-being and long-term physical health.
Learning how to quiet your subconscious brain—catching yourself in worry and stress—and switching to your conscious brain (or living in the moment) will help you focus on the reality.
Tool #1 – Throw Your Thoughts Away.
Write down negative worries and fears. Replace them with a positive thought. (Marla’s example: NEGATIVE – I’m very afraid of the impact of COVID-19 on my family. POSITIVE – But we’re doing absolutely everything we can to avoid getting the virus.)
Tool #2 is Focus on What You DO Want.
The more you say the things you DO want instead of letting the fear, worry and stress take over, the better you’ll be in mind, body, health, and overall well-being. In addition, if you’re going and doing all the time, your subconscious has control. When you breathe and are present in the moment, you can quiet the negative and repetitive thoughts in your head. Be in the moment – not in the past or the future.
You Really Have 3 Brains
You have more than one brain that you can count on—your head, your heart and your gut. “Your heart and gut are the most power brains in your body, if you allow yourself to listen to them,” says Marla. “Of the three, your heart is 60 times more powerful—so listen to your heart.”
Tool #3 — Warm Heart Tool.
Think about something you love—a place, the family pet. How do you feel? Does your heart feel warm with love? Now tell yourself a lie about that same subject. The result? It just doesn’t feel right—as you know the truth in your heart. Living from a heart-based place of breathing and calm versus a head-based place will help you better listen to your body, not your subconscious.
Just as you can “feel things in your heart,” the same is true with that gut feeling—our third brain—we often experience. Your body always knows what’s right. This is best illustrated by Marla’s Tool #4.
Tool #4 — The Sway Test.
Stand and make a statement of truth. Did you notice that your body automatically started falling forward? Then, from the same position, tell a lie. Your body probably swayed backward. According to Marla, within the practice of mindfulness, the Sway Test has proven to be very accurate.
“You are a human being, not a human doing.”
-Kurt Vonnegut, American writer
All too often our belief system is so focused on success and achievement. We’re going and doing all the time.
When you can learn to breathe and calm your body, you can focus more on what you feel and that helps you rediscover, reconnect, and heal.
The BEING Zone™
You can choose to energize yourself with calm energy by breathing, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, and grounding. Marla encourages all of us to take time out for things we love to do. She calls them Happiness Boosting Activities. Make a list and build them into your day. You’ll experience what it feels like in The BEING Zone™ – relaxed and in the moment.
Here are Marla’s 5 Simple B.E.I.N.G. Steps to Creating Calm, Happiness and Focus During Chaos:
1. B – Move into The BEING Zone™ with breathing, meditation, relaxation.
2. E – Change Your Energy by visualizing a giant magnet above your head that removes all the bad energy from you and puts it in a bubble that floats away. Then you can bring in the good energy by grounding yourself. Spending time in nature always helps.
3. I – State Your Intentions – Tell yourself how you want your day to go. If you say what you want out of each day you can get there.
4. N – Affirm Your True North (your purpose) What is important to you? What feels right to you?
5. G – Ask for Universal Guidance by trusting in something bigger than yourself—whether you’re religious or not. Then ask for that support.
Mindfulness Philosophy at Emerald Heights
Emerald Heights actively supports all residents in their ongoing pursuit of whole-body wellness. This certainly includes their own personal mindfulness goals for engaging mind and body in a pursuit of calm and wellness.
“Small enough to have a sense of privacy, but large enough to have a sense of community.
-Jackie Claessens, Director of Sales & Marketing, Emerald Heights”
Experience the Emerald Heights lifestyle and sense of community by scheduling a personal tour. Call 866-553-0916 or fill out our online form.
And if you’d like to learn more about Marla’s mindfulness philosophy, read her recent blog, Eliminating Fear While Increasing Calm.