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Play as a mindfulness toolThere’s a huge amount of psychology research material around the importance of play for both children and adults, but much of it focuses on the benefits and positive outcomes relating to stress, relationships and wellbeing etc. What hasn’t been well documented is how play relates as a mindfulness tool. When I play candy crush in the mornings I just love it. It’s a quiet part of my day where I’m just me, not a wife / mother / grandmother / CEO and business owner – just me and the game. Each level of the game has a purpose, and for each game I set an intention and I celebrate the outcome. As I play I observe myself – why am I choosing to make that move? What is motivating me? Am I playing for more of the positives or fighting the negatives? What elements in this game can I see reflected in my day – ie is this game about precision and alignment or is it more about expansion and conversion? And as I play I am stimulated by these questions as well as by the colours, the spatial reasoning and the wisdom that comes with my observations. Every next step I take in that game clearly adds up to a result and each one is completed with utter joy. I learn from the losses and I know when I’m stuck on a level for a spell that it will be reflected somewhere else in my life – somewhere I feel ‘stuck’ but with that awareness can now ‘unstick’. Play reveals thought and can be incredibly illuminating in a way that thinking something through often can’t reach or quite connect to. At the end of my play I’m ready to be a part of the world and later when I meditate, I already have insight into the intention I will set for the day that is mine to create. So you see, I don’t switch off when I play, I switch on… What do you play? Please write in and share what starts your day and why it’s so great? Neroli Jones Personal Life Coach; Founder and CEO Paradigm Switch
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How funny is it that whenever you enquire as to a friend’s wellbeing, their automatic response is almost sure to be – “I’m so busy”. Busy-ness seems to have become the new ‘tired’, it seems only yesterday that we were addicted to being constantly exhausted but now have replaced it with ‘busy’. It’s our new validation for apparent success and achievement, where if we are not seen to be running around like crazy chickens without heads, we are judged to be lazy losers in need of a life. Rings true? Read on.
Newsflash! We all have 24 hours in a day. Every single body on this planet. It’s how we spend those hours that govern our health, wellness, energy and outlook.Here are some guidelines to consider when planning your day, week, year and life!
Control your stress levels. This can be done with something as basic as sensible time management. Assess your tasks for the day, make a list of priorities, tick them off as you go and do not procrastinate. Stress is usually triggered by overwhelm and paralyses us into inactivity, which is exactly what we should avoid. Breathing techniques, meditation and some yoga poses are a good way to change the energy flow, allowing you to see more clearly ahead.
You are what you eat. We’ve all heard this expression, but do we act on it? Just as a car needs clean fuel regularly to operate smoothly, our bodies respond to a healthy balanced diet, to recharge its organs and own natural immunity. Consider supplements if you know you are deprived from essential vitamins and minerals.
Be present. It might sound obvious but how often to we fritter away precious times and look back with regretful longing? Or spend hours fantasizing about holidays that might never eventuate? Embrace the moment, live it the best you can, it’s all you have.
Of our 24 hours a day, the recommended time for sleep is between 7-9 hours a night. If we deprive our bodies of necessary downtime we are inviting a whole range of health problems. Insomnia is an increasing symptom of age and is often caused by stress, snoring, diet or lack of exercise. Sleep is one of the most important parts of healthy living, as it provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself. This includes brain cognitive function, concentration and productivity.
Get moving. We all know exercise is important – not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally . It doesn’t always have to be a sweaty session at the gym – sometimes the best thing you can do is just stand up and move away from your desk, leave the screen and just go and look at the sky or sit under a tree. Even if that tree is in the middle of the city, a few moments of time out can help you balance, catch your breath and oh, there’s an idea or that solution you were looking for. Phew!
Be aware. Get to know your body, listen to the signs. If you are constantly tired, have digestive disorders, feel down all the time, or suffer pain, these are all prompts that something may not be right. Do not ignore them; it’s your body, your mind, your life.
Remember - what you reveal, you heal.
We love that spring is almost here, and want to enjoy it to the max! So, we asked Christine Blanchard our user-friendly naturopath, for some tips we can incorporate into our day, kick-starting us into the new season. She’s not about forcing you away from your favourite foods - but simply to offer a few easy tips, making each mouthful count, to create a strong healthy foundation so you can get out there and live your most awesome life! Wake Up Naturally. Between 5-7am start with 2 glasses of warm water with a dash of apple cider vinegar or a slice of lemon, to alkalise and re-hydrate your body. Your body needs water to wake up your brain and your digestion, as well as to hydrate each cell and energise your body. The water will pacify your craving for caffeine, which you can save for later if you need a coffee. Alternatively, try a therapeutic green tea instead, for an antioxidant boost. Move Most people find the morning to be the best time of the day for exercise. Do it on an empty stomach…if you are going to spend the day mostly seated at a work desk. If you don’t have the time to get to the gym, the beach or bush walk….set up a little space at home…even 20 mins will benefit you. Grab a small rebounder trampoline for some cardio running, practice a few favourite yoga stretches, or lift hand weights for some resistance training. Breakfast By now you are awake, your digestive juices primed and you’re ready for a nutritious meal. Before reaching for the cereal box, which will only sustain you for an hour or two, consider this. Add some protein to your first meal of the day, it will sustain your energy better throughout the day, stabilise blood sugar levels and minimise energy crashes later on. Having some protein within 40 mins after exercise is also important to renew the energy in your muscles and repair any soft tissue damage. Protein sources include: 1-2 eggs, some nuts, seeds and plain yoghurt, free range bacon or a protein smoothie with a balanced powder made from sprouted rice or pea proteins. Vegans – try a nutrient rich green smoothie with some nuts and seeds. Eating protein at breakfast will help you to avoid the 11am muffin or cake run, for a quick energy fix. A Productive Morning For a well-nourished, balanced body, the most industrious time of the day is between 9-11am*. So schedule in the most challenging tasks or meetings here for optimum results. By nature, our energy wanes during the day, so plan for this - save the easier or more fun tasks for the afternoon when you can wind down a little. Drink water or herbal teas to keep your brain and body hydrated and energised. Lunchtime Protein will keep those blood sugar levels and energy stabilised- pairs it with plenty of colourful salads and vegetables. Plant foods provide us with essential, antioxidant-rich vitamins, minerals and all- important fibre, to keep things moving along. Antioxidants are the warriors in our food that protect us against all of the stressful assaults on the system.
- Environmental pollution, everyday chemicals (cosmetics, cleaning products, pesticides in our food)
- Electro -magnetic radiation (phones, computers, wifi….)
- Negative emotions
- General life pressures
The world of holistic can be a little confusing and overwhelming for many, especially if you are new to it. We understand. To make things simpler and to clarify these mystical terms, we have put together a brief glossary, which hopefully you will find useful. Acupuncture The Chinese practice of gently inserting fine needles into the body at specific points to cure disease, relieve pain and balance the energy systems in the body. Ayurveda Means “science of life” is an ancient Indian system of alternative medicine that uses diet, herbs, massage, and yoga to regulate a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual self. Breath Work The human breath has long been honoured as a powerful pathway to relieve pain, and release blocked emotions. Indian “prana,” Chinese “chi” and Japanese “ki” refer to the power of breath and its basic life force energy. Breath Work uses the full dynamics of our natural breathing path for personal healing and well-being. Chiropractor A form of manual therapy that looks at the connection between structure and function — specifically focusing on the spine. Chiropractors perform manipulations of the musculoskeletal system in order to alleviate pain and encourage the body to heal itself. Craniosacral therapy Craniosacral therapy is a therapy for relieving pain and loss of function due to restrictions in the craniosacral system which includes the brain, spinal cord, sacrum and skull. Gentle pressure is applied to make adjustments, primarily to the skull bones. Craniosacral therapy is used to treat chronic pain, migraine headaches, and many other conditions. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Combines Cognitive and Exposure Therapy with Acupressure, in the form of fingertip tapping on 12 acupuncture points. Over 20 clinical trials published in medical and psychology journals have demonstrated that EFT is effective for phobias, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain, and other problems. Homeopathy A natural pharmaceutical science that utilizes substances from the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms and is based on the premise that these naturally occurring substances can cure disease symptoms, similar to those they produce if taken in overdose. Holistic Holistic refers to an approach that considers the “whole person” including mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and environmental factors. Rather than focusing on a specific disease or disorder, holistic practitioners look at all aspects of the person’s life, and try to help them achieve a healthy balance. Integrative medicine Uses complementary and alternative medicine in combination with conventional medicine. Integrative medicine aims to treat the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — not just the disease. Iridology The alternative technique that claims patterns, colours, and other characteristics of the iris can be examined to determine information about a patient's health. Practitioners match their observations to correspond to specific parts of the human body and can distinguish between healthy systems and organs that are overactive, inflamed, or distressed. Meditation The conscious mental process that is used to release physical tension, relax the body, and ease the mind. Meditation is a practice where a person tries to observe and master their mind, by focusing on breathing, visualizing, or through chanting a word, phrase or prayer. Meditation is used to relieve stress and pain, and improve a sense of well-being. Kinesiology A technique that tests muscles to find imbalances in the body. Rebalancing using massage of lymphatic areas, holding neurovascular points, stimulating acupuncture meridians, holding acupuncture points, finding the proper nutritional support and addressing emotional aspects that are involved. Naturopathy A natural healing system that focuses on treating the whole person, physical, emotional and mental. This alternative medicine encourages the body to heal itself through the use of diet, herbs, massage, joint manipulation, and lifestyle changes. Osteopathic medicine Osteopathy is based on the idea that the body’s structure is closely related to its function. With proper nutrition and a healthy environment, a body that is in correct structural alignment can fight off disease and other toxic conditions. The role of the practitioner is to help restore structural balance in order to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal. Osteopathy is mostly used to treat musculoskeletal disorders including spinal and joint difficulties, arthritis, traumatic injuries and chronic pain. Reflexology A therapeutic modality designed to relieve tension, improve circulation, and promote the natural functioning of the body through the application of pressure on various points on the feet. Reflexology is used to release tension and stress, improve circulation, help cleanse toxins from the body, and to promote healing and general well-being. Reiki The word reiki means universal life energy. Reiki is a Japanese qi (or ki)-energy therapy in which the practitioner acts as a conduit for this energy and uses their hands to channel energy to the patient. Reiki is used to help the body heal, relieve emotional and mental distress, and improve spiritual focus and clarity. Stones such as crystals and quartz are sometimes placed on the body to help focus this energy. Tapping See Emotional Freedom Technique EFT Voice Dialogue This practice accesses the various personas present in each one of us. It is used to unblock emotions and overcome fears, phobias or stress. Wellness The term wellness means more than simply not being sick. Wellness is the state in which people can be at their best, or reach their fullest potential, in the physical sense and also in terms of their emotional and spiritual well-being. Wellness is the state of optimal health that allows a person to experience life to its fullest, to be happy and to lead a satisfying and fulfilling life. Yoga Originating in India over the past 2000 years, yoga is a general term for a range of meditative exercises used to access consciousness and encourage physical and mental well-being. Forms of “physical” Yoga include Hatha (Iyengar, Bikram, Ananda, Astanga Vinyasa/Power, Phoenix Rising, etc.) and Kundalini.
There are so many reasons to be angry. Someone not living up to your expectations. Social injustice. Your childhood. Being betrayed, bullied, abused. Having someone you love hurt, or even killed by another. Illness. Self-sabotage. Government action or inaction. Financial circumstances. Losing a job. Being unemployed. Feeling helpless. This is just for starters - the list could go on forever. Former Australian prime minister, Gough Whitlam, when ousted from office, famously declared, "Maintain the rage", and while much anger is absolutely justifiable, it is important for us to ask whether it is indeed a resourceful response or useful to hold on to it? Anger can help you to survive, but it can also hold you victim - a victim to the person who has wronged you or situation that you find yourself in. It can keep you very connected to and thinking constantly about the very person or situation you want to be free from. And to harbour a desire for revenge may seem appropriate, but also comes at a considerable cost in terms of mental, emotional and physical health. Anger isn't just turned outwards. I can't tell you the number of times, when I've asked a client "Who or what are you REALLY angry about?" the response has been "myself". Anger can be really compelling because it covers up our feelings of helplessness with a sense of power, but remember, anger isn't who you are, it is merely a response. The good news is that it is very responsive to clearing with EFT tapping which is the best method I've ever come across to free negative emotions that can be so damaging to our wellbeing. So here are a few tips, and remember that the important thing when tapping is to tune into the feeling in your body and not to worry too much about the words. 1. If the anger seems really compelling start with tapping around the spots while acknowledging "I don't want to let go of this anger". It's always good to acknowledge your resistances and allow the tapping to dissolve it. 2. Part of this resistance can be the feeling that your anger is totally justified so it's good to acknowledge this as well while tapping. 3. When you are in touch with the anger and are ready to be free from it, tap around and say "I just let it go, it's safe to let it go, it's good for me to let it go". After each round of tapping check in to see if the anger is still there and keep doing rounds of tapping until you can't find it any more. You may find another feeling emerges - sadness often comes up in its wake, so then pay attention to that. The idea is to tap until you feel clear. 4. If you're triggered by a minor incident – like, when you lost the plot in the carpark as someone took YOUR spot - tap on the anger that is triggered, but then ask yourself what you are really angry at and start paying attention to that. Often there is a well of supressed anger that hasn't been dealt with that suddenly explodes over some petty incident. So anger at a petty incident is always a clue that something else needs to be dealt with! 5. If you're angry at your needs not being met in some way, name the needs. Write it down, make a list of what your needs are and how they are not being met, or haven't been met in the past. Then start tapping and work your way through it as you tap - "I'm angry that ______, I'm angry at ______." Focus on feeling the anger as you tap because this is how you break the pattern in your brain. 6. No-one wants to feel helpless but this is often the feeling that lies beneath anger. It has certainly been the case with me but it took me a very long time to recognise it. It's really worth contemplating in what areas of your life, or in what situations you feel helpless and tapping on it because although you can't change the outcome your power lies in changing your response to it. 7. One way out of helplessness is to use your anger to generate action. Because tapping clears your mind and opens up creativity you could tap the spots while saying "What action is this anger driving me to take". For instance, I'm both angry at and feel helpless to do anything about the Australian government's treatment of asylum seekers, but I am studying to become a migrant home tutor in English where I know I can make a difference. 9. Tap every day! There are so many different layers and aspects of your anger. I lived under the illusion for a long time that I wasn't an angry person. Well, that really was an illusion! Just because you don't feel angry at this particular moment does mean you don't carry anger. And there are endless triggers - someone bullies you at work, you're stuck in the traffic, the service is rude, the government makes the latest insane decision, your kids are pushing your boundaries, the internet has gone down....... 10. Decide how you want to respond instead. I have a sign on my bedroom wall saying "I choose love over anger". Of course I don't always manage that, but at least I have an intention, a direction, an alternative response mapped out. And it makes a wonderful mantra to tap on. As my mentor Stephanie Dowrick always says, "Peace in yourself. Peace in the world".
---///---Margaret Munoz is an Advanced Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner and author of bestseller, The Power of Tapping. With 27 years’ experience in the field of EFT Tapping and naturopathy, Margaret has helped countless people overcome all kinds of stress related dis-ease. From RSI to back pain to migraines and insomnia, Margaret has worked with cancer patients and those with eating disorders. EFT Tapping works on energy. The simplicity of Tapping is almost too good to believe. By releasing on specific pressure points, the flow of emotion and pain are relieved, thus allowing energy to run more freely. Paradigm Switch is proud to have Margaret as a part of our team.
Meditation techniques actually date back 2,400 years in Buddhist tradition, but have been updated over the past few decades to appeal to a new secular audience. Today, mindfulness has become an everyday buzzword. We are told we need to meditate – it’s the in-thing, it will sort out our problems, it’s the solution to a balanced life, to manage stress levels and increase happiness Social influencers like Deepak Chopra have been preaching to us the benefits of meditation for years and have since been joined by numerous thought leaders, ranging from Bill Gates to Arianna Huffington of the HuffPost. Arianna Huffington sums up the practice of meditation in her bestseller, Thrive – “Mindfulness is about training our minds to be more focused, to see with clarity, to have spaciousness for creativity and to feel connected” She goes on to explain how this might be important in the business world where being fully present on the job will result invariably in more effective leadership, creativity and focus. Deepak explains meditation to be the art of tuning in, to get in touch with yourself rather than tuning out or getting away from it all. “So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there's little space between every thought. That’s where the essence of you, lies.” Recently, a trial of 6000 school children in the UK has been implemented, to assess whether learning the skill of mindfulness can prevent mental illness. Researchers from 4 major universities said the trial is based on the theory that, just as physical training is linked with better physical health, so psychological resilience training is linked to better mental health. Makes sense, yes? One of our favourite PS practitioners, Tom Cronin set up The Stillness Project where he educates, and trains thousands in the art of mediation. It is paramount to success and wellbeing he tells us, “What meditation does is releases the flow of the happy hormones – oxytocin and serotonin. When we are stressed we don’t release these hormones.” Tom continues to explain how mindfulness allows access to the very essence of you - the ‘you’ behind your thoughts. What this does is allows you to become far less reactive to circumstances, flow through life better, and feel more happiness on a daily basis. Given the fact that mindfulness and meditation require no qualifications, are accessible to everyone, everywhere, it’s free and totally portable, Can we afford NOT to meditate?
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Neroli Jones founded Paradigm Switch after suffering from severe corporate burnout. Here, we’ve taken her aside, for a chat…. Hello Neroli, Q. What prompted you to form PS? NJ I was the classic super high achieving senior executive who crashed and burned. I suffered a total adrenal collapse, my immune system went totally hyper, I started reacting to lettuce and my thyroid began to cark it. In the end, I found it hard to get through a day at work just physically and don’t start me on my brain fog. Something had to give, so I resigned my job and took almost a year off to do a long anticipated 4WD trip around Australia. The trip was amazing and every leg of the journey helped me to heal and grow stronger. I came back and knew I had to find a new job but I just couldn’t bring myself to even seriously look for anything: My heart was just not into it. My health had been a priority, and I was just putting the polishing touches to my health, when I met a fellow traveller and we started a conversation that went something like this… “Really?!? Me too!” “There’s got to be a better way…” “What if we did something like?” And that’s how Paradigm Switch was conceived. Q. What have been your greatest hurdles to overcome? NJ I’d be lying if I didn’t say financial issues were a major obstacle – we’re totally self-funded and independent and anyone who has started their own business knows, it takes a minimum of 12 months to get up and running. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that when we started. But we made it. If you can get the first year under your belt. We’re in our third year now, and going strong which is such a joy. Other than finances, nothing major – we’re a great team here at PSU, we work with only the most amazing health and wellbeing professionals and our clients love us and we love them. Q. How did you progress? What helped along the way? NJ With integrity – always sticking to our purpose and intention and just taking each step by step. Celebrating the signposts and milestones and knowing what we were setting out to do was well worth the journey – keeping clear and focused. We had a solid business plan, we had an awesome brand, the most wonderful people around us –our practitioners, our own team, our providers and suppliers and with our fellow travellers. What helped too was, of course, walking the talk. We have set about creating an alternative company culture well clear of the normal corporate culture that had seen me facing a health crisis. I choose a healthy work-life balance, work hard but respect flexibility of hours, and offer the same lifestyle balance to the team. Are we productive? Outrageously so. This new paradigm for business gives us a warm, supportive and vibrant company culture, which delivers the best results from all of our team, in a balanced environment. We give ourselves permission to meditate and exercise before we hit the office. And when we’re at work, our energy flows and we enjoy a laugh along the way, supporting each other over the bumps. Q. Give us a highlight in working at PSU! NJ One of the best bits is that we regularly consult with our Intuitive counsellor, Barbara Callan on our business – we give her a list of 4-5 questions every six weeks or so and she does a professional reading and report for us. How could you take a wrong turn with that kind of help? Q. What’s on the horizon? NJ I’m so excited health + wellness are becoming much more talked about in Australia now. We’re a long way behind the rest of the world – particularly in view of our workplace wellbeing programs and penetration. But that change curve is upon us and we’re thrilled to be out in front alongside some other wonderful organisations. In terms of personal wellbeing, awareness is growing fast, about the difference between seeing a regular GP when you’re sick, and proactively supporting your health by consulting with an alternative practitioner. Most of us have forgotten how well we are designed to feel and how central to feeling joyful, wellness actually is. An holistic approach to health positively impacts every area of your life; your relationships, your emotional resilience, your sense of energy and purpose and of course, your physical vitality. Our bodies are brilliantly designed to heal themselves, but often need some help to reach a stage where they can truly begin. Q. How do you relax? NJ Meditation is a key part of my morning. I wouldn’t start any day without it. Being outside – anything outside in nature makes me happy. I love gardening and growing my own healthy produce, paddling a kayak, sailing and salt water. Hanging out with family and friends, exercising and here’s my secret – I love playing Candy Crush Saga. I use it for mindfulness training. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise you, I’ve learned so much on training my mind, my wiring and in using the colours, spatial and numeric reasoning, intuition and feeling – I’m working both sides of my brain. Perfect!