SWIHA Blog

Your Brain on Meditation: The Health Benefits of Finding Zen

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 10/15/18 2:00 PM

Mindfulness is an ability we all possess. Just like a muscle, the more often that we choose to utilize it, the greater the ability grows. At its most basic definition, living mindfully is making the choice to be fully present in each moment. By bringing awareness to what you’re directly experiencing (sounds, scents, sensations) you can reduce ruminative thinking, improve your memory, and find a greater appreciation for both positive and negative experiences.

Meditation is a tool for becoming more mindful. It is an exploration of our internal landscape, where we unleash our natural curiosities and suspend our judgement. Often times, we’re not even aware of how busy our brains are, so by making the time to “check-in” and observe our thoughts, we can learn to better problem-solve and discover the root cause of our daily stressors and discomforts.

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Topics: Meditation, Mindful, Mindfulness, guided imagery, PTSD, wellness, Holistic Healing

Put Down Your Phone! Do a Digital Detox

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 9/17/18 2:00 PM

What has the power to monopolize your time, relationships and even your thoughts? You’re probably holding it in your hand right now.

The science of how an abundance of technology influences us as human beings is still in its infancy, so we actually know very little about the long-term hazards of a screen-to-screen existence. However, we can inuit that constantly monitoring our email and posting Facebook status updates is making us less productive, more disconnected from our real lives, and less satisfied with ourselves.

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Topics: Motivational Monday, Meditation, health, wellness, Mindfulness

Generation Kind: Four Mindful (and Fun!) Activities for Children

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 8/27/18 2:00 PM

Living mindfully comes with many benefits, and none of them are limited to just adults! Mindfulness has the ability to provide children with simple tools to understand their nervous system, make healthier decisions and regulate their feelings.

By helping children to learn to focus on a single thing, such as a sound or their own breath, they can calm their mind and develop emotional fortitude. Consistent mindfulness practices for children leads to less impulsivity, refined concentration skills, and more awareness of how to respond thoughtfully to tough situations.

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Topics: Mindful Breathing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Kids Yoga, Children, Emotional Release

Love the Earth: Easy Steps to Take to Live More Sustainably

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 8/13/18 2:00 PM

Many of us seek to live a more sustainable lifestyle—and yet, how can we achieve that? It can often seem counterintuitive in the current culture of excess.

Our everyday choices have a global effect; on the environment, the climate and other species. However, if we think twice about our actions and make some important adjustments, we can take a stand against mindless consumption and preserve our earth.

Here are just a few small steps you can take today to have an impact on a better tomorrow.

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Topics: Alternative Living, Motivation, Mindfulness

Are We There Yet?! -  6 Mindfulness Tips for the Trip to Inner Peace

Posted by Lizzy House on 5/21/18 2:00 PM

Too often, I meet people on their spiritual path who are fed up with their lack of progress, lack of knowledge, lack of you-name-it... Often, these are the same people whose every inch of last spring’s vision board has already come true, who have grown leaps and bounds in the past year, and who have a long list of achievements already under their belt.

Despite the “bigger picture” of their overwhelming success, these folks tend to fall into a pit of despair in reaction to their recent missteps or scattered goals. They devote more time to suffering over their mistakes than creating, learning, healing, and growing. They open the door to self-criticism and, in doing so, slam the door shut on universal guidance. And, on top of it all, you can bet that these rock stars are painfully aware of their self-sabotaging behavior… and are adding that, too, to their growing catalog of “weaknesses.”

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Topics: Mindful, Mindfulness, Law of Attraction, Yoga Sutras, anxiety, Ego

Authenticity Takes Practice: Coach Bill Gisclair-Sullivan on Living Our Own Truth

Posted by KC Miller on 1/10/18 8:00 AM

According to Life Coach and meditation teacher Bill Gisclair-Sullivan, authenticity requires practice: “It is a conscious choice that we must make about how we want to live our lives every day. It is a collection of our choices and decisions, and it requires us to show up, be present in the moment, and to be honest with ourselves.”

The truth is that authenticity usually has to be re-learned because so much of our lives have been spent mastering the many masks we think we must wear to be approved of or to fit into what we imagine is expected of us. A quote from Coach Bill’s website captures his life coaching mission, which emphasizes how we can step into our truest self: "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we truly are."

Bill is so passionate about this work because it mirrors his own life journey. “It took me many, many years to discover my authenticity,” Bill explains. “I spent most of my adult life working in management in the hospitality field. After making some dramatic mistakes and trying to climb the corporate ladder, I lost some important parts of myself along the way.”

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Topics: Meditation, Mindfulness, Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy, Psychology, Nutrition, fitness, spirituality

Moving Forward: Melissa Colton on the Joy of Reinventing Yourself

Posted by KC Miller on 1/9/18 8:00 AM

Melissa Colton is a licensed mental health counselor, psychotherapist, and life coach whose favorite quote is that of Carl Jung’s: "You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become!" It seems that Melissa herself embodies this quote. Though a lot may have happened to her, she has chosen to re-invent herself each step of the way.

Reminiscing, Melissa recalls dreaming of becoming be a go-go dancer, flight attendant, and a member of the Peace Corps all before the age of 15. Interestingly enough, none of these things happened. Instead, she went to college, fell in love, married, moved to Florida, had two children, and lived a pretty normal, low key life… yet, always with an itch to do more!

At age 40, Melissa reinvented herself by going back to graduate school. She eventually became a licensed mental health professional, specializing in treating high-risk individuals, which included being on-call holidays, weekend, and in the middle of the night for crisis calls from actively suicidal and/or self-harming clients. As challenging and demanding as the working conditions had been, the rewards were those you measured in intangible ways– self-satisfaction, living a mission-driven life, and finding deep personal purpose in serving others.

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Topics: Life Coaching, Mental Health, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Psychotherapist, Mindfulness, Reinventing, Carl Jung, Mindfulness Training, Mindfulness Exerise

Listen Up: Laura Barnes Talks “Tuning In” to the Sacredness of Life

Posted by KC Miller on 1/8/18 8:00 AM

Tune-in! Tune-up! Attune your life to your true passions! These are often the themes for a life coaching session, especially the ones offered by longtime life coach and instructor Laura Barnes, who is a true fan of tuning forks.

A tuning fork is a fork-shaped acoustic resonator that can be used to produce a very pure tone from which others can harmonize. Similar to adjusting a piano, the body and mind can be tuned to achieve optimal physical and mental balance by tapping two tuning forks instantaneously, altering the body's biochemistry and bringing the nervous system, muscles, and organs into harmonic balance. In seconds, the body and mind enters a deep state of relaxation once it experiences the non-judgmental, non-directive, gentle vibrational energy from the tuning forks.

This is a perfect metaphor for life coaching. Laura Barnes, who has taught Life Coaching online for Southwest Institute of Healing Arts for over seven years, explains, Life coaches help their clients ‘tune in’ to the sacredness of life by being with those they serve in a non-judgmental, non-directive, gentle way! The goal of a coaching session is to bring balance to body, mind, and spirit. It’s known as creating ‘sacred resonance’ with another.”

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Topics: Life Coaching, Tuning Forks, Breathing Techniques, Body Awareness, Imagery, mantras, Meditation, Mindfulness, Profound Questions, Storytelling, Symbolism, Sound Therapy

Dana Marie: Shaping the Future of Education Through Life Coaching

Posted by Tim Barber on 1/7/18 8:00 AM

Dana Marie Greenwood has officially gone full circle: from her roots as a middle school and high school teacher to her exploration as a student at SWIHA, she is now returning once more to the world of education as a Life Coach!

With 13 years of classroom experience backing her up, Dana intuitively knew that a relaxed state was necessary for her students to effectively absorb new knowledge. Yet, it wasn’t until she trained in a diverse spectrum of specialties at SWIHA—including massage therapy, yoga, aromatherapy, life coaching, mindfulness, guided imagery, and hypnotherapy—that Dana found an appropriate name for the phenomenon she was encountering. “I became consciously aware of the importance of returning to the parasympathetic—or “rest and digest”—state as often as possible,” she reflects. “So many of the body, mind, and spirit’s important functions take place in that state!”

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Topics: Life Coaching, Teaching, yoga, aromatherapy, Massage Therapy, Mindfulness, guided imagery, Hypnotherapy, Test Anxiety, Learning Anxiety

Do You Need More S.L.E.E.P.? – Self-Care is Soul

Posted by KC Miller on 11/7/17 2:00 PM

If you, or someone you know, is a caregiver, it goes without saying that you could probably use more sleep. You are not alone! The statistics are staggering: there are approximately 43.5 million people in the United States who identify as caregivers!  

Approximately 8.5 million of these primary caregivers are single mothers and 2.5 million are single fathers. These numbers don’t include the 1.7 million veterans who have returned home in the last ten years and who are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or some form of depression—individuals who also need a great deal of support and care.

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Topics: Caregiver, Children, Veterans, PTSD, Stress, Burnout, Hypnotherapy, guided imagery, Mindfulness, yoga nidra

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