Mindful 'Walk-Talk' Counselling/Coaching
Mindfulness is accepted by many researchers, experts and practitioners around the world, including myself, as a tool that can be of great help to anyone who's life has become overwhelmed and controlled by fear, worry, doubt and stress.As defined by Brantley (2007), mindfulness may be understood as a - "friendly, non-judging, present-moment awareness" (p.4). Practicing mindfulness means “learning to relax and stay present with a non-judging and friendly awareness (Brantley, 2007, p. 25). Mindfulness is “cultivated by paying attention – on purpose and carefully – to the contents of this moment in a friendly and allowing way”… It is developed through a daily practice of meditation (Brantley, 2007. p. 25).
In practicing mindfulness, one has an opportunity to "discover the inner space, stillness, and simplicity that are our natural heritage as human beings"... something that we so often forget, yet search for deeply in our daily lives. Mindfulness is practiced by being more present, non-judgmentally and with a "welcoming and allowing attitude" where kindness and compassion are of most importance (Brantley, 2007, p.5).
It's my belief that mindfulness is best learned in nature, where one can be most 'present,' with limited distractions. This is why I combine this approach with what is known as 'Walk-Talk' Counselling/Coaching, as described below:
A simple way to describe this approach is as counselling/coaching 'in motion.' Many people find sitting still in an office and attempting to talk about one's life, goals and concerns to not only increase feelings of nervousness, but find the experience difficult and uncomfortable. Being 'in motion,' whether it be indoors on a track or outdoors on a trail, give many a sense of freedom... perhaps the sense freedom that they are lacking in their personal and professional lives... perhaps the sense of 'freedom' and true happiness one aims to achieve as their core goal. What is interesting to note is that people who walk or run in natural environments report less anger and sadness directly following exercise than those who walk or run in "built" environments, as reported in a 2010 meta-analysis in BMC Public Health by Diana E. Bowler, PhD, of Bangor University in North Wales, and colleagues. Studies beginning in the 1990's by psychologists Terry A. Hartig, PhD, Roger S. Ulrich, PhD, and demonstrated that nature helps in lowering feelings of anxiety and even assists in healing one's body.
By choosing to complete your coaching/life skills counselling sessions via Mindful 'Walk-Talk,' you're also getting exercise that you may otherwise 'put off'... can anyone say 'win-win situation?' :) .
Brantley, J. (2007). Calming your anxious mind: How mindfulness & compassion can free you from anxiety, fear & panic. Oakland, CA:
New Harbinger Publications, Inc.