Positive Luxury invited Terrence the Teacher, a freshly appointed member of our Sustainability Council, to talk us through the benefits of mindfulness and how to weave the practice into our everyday life.
As Terrence the Teacher set foot in our office, the team was chattering with excitement; it is not everyday that one gets the opportunity of lunching with a mindfulness teacher and, more than that, one who hauls a celebrity client list.
After sharing with us his moving story of how the use of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Clinical Hypnotherapy set him on a path to success, only to be stopped in his tracks by two heart attacks, we realised how important a role mindfulness has played in his life. Once he was released from the hospital, Terrence was facing two choices: overhaul his lifestyle or face uncertain chance of survival.
Today, he works with Great Ormond Street Hospital, Harrods, and several other businesses to give them a new lease of life. This work stems from the idea that burnt out people struggle to make the right decisions. With an emphasis on personal sustainability, today’s global shift toward a healthier planet needs healthier people and minds to harness it.
Here are the main learnings we take away from our conversation:
1)What is the meaning of life for you?
The fact that you are alive has meaning in itself. Every human being is part of a very intelligent experiential creation that needs every player to play their part. We have to do our bit, no matter how small, on this beautiful playing field called planet earth, to fully expand plus grow. Looking after the planet therefore makes sense. Where else would we play?
2)What is the scientific rationale behind mindfulness?
The conscious mind is the 5% of thoughts we control, the subconscious is where the other 95% of habits, belief systems and live processes run from.The body is a vehicle through which we express what is going on in our mind (i.e., the biochemistry that is released by our thoughts). For example, if the body has been operating on stress hormones for years, it will manifest in high blood pressure, quicker heart rate and sometimes even weight gain. Research is now showing that the body sometimes will actually release the biochemistry before a thought occurs, as it has become used to be in a certain state. Mindfulness changes the physiological structure of your brain, it calms your parasympathetic nervous system down.
3) Why is it important to change the way we communicate about mindfulness?
Mindfulness has to be taught in a simple, practical and science-led way in order to get to everyone. Paying attention to our breath for a couple of minutes is the quickest and best way to meditate and it can be done pretty much everywhere. Noticing the pace of the breath and where it comes from – the stomach, the chest – quietens the noise in our mind; it enables us to really check in with ourselves and expand our awareness.
“Meditation is to mindfulness what exercise is to fitness”
– Terrence the Teacher
4) How can we create good habits and remove negative ones?
To create a new habit, you have to fire that neuron over and over with repetition. Once the habit sets in you can expand the habit and then build on it. The more times you do something, the more your brain learns that you are a person that meditates – the body likes habits. The well-known author and researcher called Dr Joe Dispenza says “a thought becomes a feeling that creates an action which eventually turns into a habit. That habit eventually becomes the personality.”
To change a habit, it’s important to know that the brain can’t hold on to 2 belief systems around one idea. By focusing only on what we want, and not what we don’t want, we reframe our belief system and it is easier to making smalls step towards the new choice to eventually weave the new habit into our everyday life. It takes time, there is no quick fix.
5) What are your top tips for wellbeing?
MEDITATE Start with 1 minute a day.
TAKE A FEW DEEP BREATHS It is a mindful way to connect to yourself
NURTURE YOUR BODY Do 1 thing a day that is healthy and good for your body
SLEEP The body and mind heal during sleep. You need that sleep time to create the optimal version of yourself.
CONNECT TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT Reconnect to nature; it needs you as much as you need it. Remember that what you breathe out , is what trees breathe in and what trees release, we breathe in.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF If you start understanding your value, it will reflect on your confidence. Again, it takes time, but eventually we all have value to add to this amazing experience called life.