One of the writers I love who speaks about making the changes you want to make is a sassy presenter, Kelly Mc Gonnigal. She’s practical, funny, full of ideas and very entertaining. She’s good to watch and good to read.
In 2018, I wrote a 5 week willpower course based on her work for procrastinating university students . The course combined her tips with procrastination, heaps of entertaining research antidotes, bits of procrastination brain science and a weekly short mindfulness practice.
Firstly, mindfulness practice helps with concentration. I encouraged them to do their mindfulness practice when their attention started to waver… and it reportedly helped. 8 minutes of mindfulness practice prior o a comprehension exercise has been shown to help students perform better than they otherwise might.
Secondly mindfulness is about cultivating awareness. I encouraged them to stop and do a practice when they felt like procrastinating. This made them more aware of what was going on and the thought-body processes that were feeding the procrastination habit. They could then makes choices, respond rather than react as they usually did.
And last but not least, we practiced mindfulness as a way to approach uncomfortable feelings without being overwhelmed, sometimes called “urge surfing” or “radical acceptance/openness. Often we try to avoid what is uncomfortable (they procrastinated) and sometimes finding a way to accept these feelings and let them pass through us can be more effective. Perhaps this is a bit like holding a ball under water, it takes effort and when you let go it bounces up. Better to find a different way if you don't want it to take so much effort.
I spoke to a few of these students last week, 3 months after the course finished and they reiterated what they had last told me… this approach was life changing for them.
Research shows that people who do a course often report:an increased ability to relax, more energy and enthusiasm for life, improved self-esteem, self-confidence, concentration, memory and effective decision-making.
Participants have also reported a lasting decrease in ,psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety, depression and irritability, negative thinking patterns and physical symptoms of a range of a chronic health problems including pain, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.
Try it out, get frustrated, ask questions, review what your doing and find your own way with the support of the teacher and the group. It’s a serious course with serious benefits but it is also fun!
So consider booking into a MBSR course if your New Years resolutions tend to be about enriching your life, but you often find that you don’t follow them through. The next course begins Feb 19 and the early bird ends Jan 24. Book now and don't miss out. www.headrest.com.au