Making it their mission to create a secular platform for teaching busy Londoners the vital life skill that is Mindfulness – Alexa Frey and Autumn Totton set up the The Mindfulness Project as a social enterprise whose profits are re-invested towards the intended purpose of spreading mindfulness in London. With a goal to make the practise accessible to the wider majority, the project brings together an array of London’s best mindfulness teachers and guest lecturers from around the world in hope of equipping the population with the tools and skills to access their full potential, better their lives and in doing so, better the world.
In anticipation of the event we will be hosting in collaboration with The Mindfulness Project, we chatted to the founders about their amazing initiative and the ways that we can incorporate mindfulness into our every-day.
What inspired you to set up The Mindfulness Project?
I used to suffer from anxiety and mindfulness really helped to change my whole life to the better. After my positive experience with the practise I always hoped a dedicated space for secular mindfulness in London would emerge, where fellow minds could meet and practice mindfulness together – at some point I just figured that I just had to set one up myself.
What are some of your favourite ways to ensure inner peace and balance when our external environments are busy and overwhelming?
We can prepare for those busy and overwhelming situations by practising mindfulness, even when things are calm and we don’t feel like we “need” it as much. As Jon Kabat-Zinn (the grandfather of MBSR) says, we need to be weaving our parachutes every day rather than leaving them until the last minute. Mindfulness gives us this kind of emergency exit from all the busyness and chaos around us. Coming back to the present moment allows us to reconnect with our inner sense of balance.
What are some other ways that we can use mindfulness to enhance our state of wellbeing?
Mindfulness has the potential to help us with all aspects of our lives. By bringing awareness to the patterns that underlie our sometimes unhealthy behaviours we can create a space to make new and better choices to feel better. We can also practice “taking in the good” as neuroscientist Rick Hanson describes. Through mindfulness we can really focus on the emotional and body sensation aspects of our positive experiences. By really tuning into the embodied sense of the good experience, we can make it part of our implicit memory. This can help us offset the negativity bias that our brains have. The good experiences become kind of like ‘muscle memory’, which creates a more accessible state of being and with cultivation can actually become a trait.
What is your top tip for getting back on track when life gets in the way of our mindful practise?
Take mindfulness into real life. Even if we can’t make time to sit down and practice, there are so many opportunities to practice mindfulness throughout even the busiest of days. You can tune into the present moment when brushing your teeth, riding the subway, taking in the aromas and flavours of your morning tea/coffee, or by taking just a few deep breaths before answering a phone call at work.
The Mindfulness Project will be kicking off our Summer Wellbeing Festival Schedule of events and will be the first in our series of ‘Alternative Friday Nights Out’ with an evening workshop and after work drinks (organic of course!) with like-minds in Fitzroy Square on the 27th of June.
Image credit: The Mindfulness Project – http://bit.ly/1lCoZkq