Spring has sprung!
Doesn't this daffodil look so happy and perfectly spring-like? For many people spring is their favourite season. The season of new life and new beginnings and the season of hope, when you see those first snowdrops poke their way out of the soil it really does do the heart good. And of course when the temperature starts to rise a little and we get some blue sky days it's definitely easier to be happier!
But did you know that our brains are not designed for happiness? Our brains are designed for survival, so they're constantly on the lookout for potential harm or threat... happiness is extra and this is why we need to cultivate it. Practicing mindfulness is a concrete way to do help do this. When we are mindful, we naturally become more grateful and gratitude is another tangible practice for cultivating happiness.
Spring is a time to take action and learn something new. My next 8-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) starts on 4 April. I just finished a course with 7 men and 7 women - this what some of them said in their final evaluation " "It’s reduced my stress levels and taught me how to enjoy the present more. It was all brilliant, the course is great, thank you so much.”
“Excellent course, delivered brilliantly. Really benefited from it. The day silent retreat was powerful, well planned and still benefiting from it! Loved it all will highly recommend – keen to do another course. Thank you. ”
"Transformative course. I had such a wonderful time (it really was life-changing!), I would love to do the MSC course in May!”
"I have enjoyed every single thing about this course! At the beginning it was difficult to actually ‘breath’. I found that I was getting anxious. Now its easy to centre myself with a few simple breathes. Thank you Bridgeen, I endeavour to keep this going every day of my life. I will come along to future workshops/courses.”
"I loved the affect it had on my being. Thank you Bridgeen.”
I have more testimonials on this and previous courses here.
A lady who just completed my 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion course (MSC) told me at the final course dinner (organised by the group to thank me) said: "I"m a 100% happier!" Another lady said: "Take that Dan Harris!" You'll need to be a fan of mindfulness books to get that one, but basically this is another really powerful course. The next Mindful Self-Compassion 8-week course starts on 5 May, it's not a requirement but I do advise completing an MBSR course before doing this course. I will upload the testimonials for this soon.
The MBSR is difficult because of the discipline involved, and the MSC is difficult because of the emotions it can generate, but both have positive outcomes far outweighing the difficulties. It's an inconvenient truth but suffering or difficulty are what help us grow. It's not easy for that snowdrop to make it through the soil, but once it does...
It's like a child trying to help a caterpillar turn into a butterfly by breaking it's chrysalis. But it's the struggle to break out of the chrysalis that creates the wings, so the poor child will be disappointed to see the caterpillar cannot fly.
If you aren't able to commit to a course of this kind you really should be logging on to www.centra.co.uk and downloading my FREE 10-week mindfulness plan. It really is great! I know I would say that, but the clever Centra people have helped me make wee animations that bring the weekly mindfulness practices alive. Do check it out - you'll also get Jane McClenaghan's nutrition plan and Shane McGuigan's fitness plan. I really love the overnight oats recipe!
It's a short newsletter this month as the month is nearly over! I'll be back with more in April. I've been very busy this month with workshops for Centra and for the HSC for whom I'm now an associate trainer. With a short break in the lovely Lusty Beg (some of the photos below are from there - see my Instagram for more) and climbing up Slemish Mountain in honour of St Patrick's Day I have't spent enough time online only to update my testimonial and business webpages... :)
If you can remember back to this past St Patrick's Day you might recall what an absolutely shocking day it was, with rain, hail, wind and mud! Lot's and lots of mud. We we're probably crazy to do it... I fell 3 times! I think i got whip lash and certainly my legs we're wrecked! So today I went to Miriam Chambers for a massage.
Miriam is a wonderful massage therapist and yoga teacher. She specialises in yoga for backs and pregnancy yoga. I've known Miriam from when we trained in yoga together over 10 years ago. She has since gone on from the Yoga Fellowship to train in Iyenger and other disciplines like 'birthlight'. I highly recommend all her services - she is professional, qualified and experienced and a really, really lovely person. Contact her via her website here.
Video of the month
This video is one for the kids! Especially kids (and grown-ups! like me) who like the Trolls movie. Cloud Guy is on hand to teach kids the right path to be happy. It's from Smiling Mind and only 4 minutes long.
I also wrote a blog post on my website and Facebook (I will keep the Facebook note up to date with new info as I get it) listing local teachers who offer mindfulness or mindful movement such as yoga or Tai Chi to children. I have 8 people listed - if you or anyone else you know would like to be listed on this note please get in touch. The note also has some mindfulness books for children and links for training in mindfulness for children. (Please note my 8-week MBSR qualifies as prerequisite training for professional mindfulness training courses including those to children). We need more people to be teaching kids so do consider it. At least 12 of my former students are now teaching but it would be great if there were more - especially properly qualified ones! :)