Compassion and Mindfulness – A New Approach for the New Year

by Linda Janasz-Rosen, PhD (Hons)

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.”— Oprah Winfrey

On my journey, I have a worked as a sociologist, journalist and researcher, and traveled the globe writing about different cultures and communities. I’ve had the privilege of profiling industry moguls, world leaders and Academy Award winners. I have observed a world filled with joy and great suffering, and have seen few individuals who know how to find balance in an unbalanced world.

 

Like everyone, I had my share of spiritual pain and grief, and despite my work and training, I was unable to manage my own suffering. At one point, I nearly buckled under my sadness and my physician suggested medication. As fate would have it, my body rejected it.

My quest led me to the study and practice of the ancient tradition of yoga, meditation and mindful awareness. These teach you how to cultivate your mind, regulate energy and information flow and be with your emotions, rather than fight them. These non-religious practices gave me the tools and methods to be happier and live a better life.

Today, Western science has started to embrace these traditional teachings. Neuroscientists have produced brain scans that prove how meditation and movement can actually change the size of key regions of our brains, improving our memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress. Studies have shown increased creativity and decreased burnout in the workplace. Companies such as Apple Computer, Nortel Networks and Google have instituted mindfulness training and wellness opportunities on-site.

Of particular interest is the work that is being done with children, teaching them skills to learn to settle their minds while increasing focus. Today, we are working toward the new ABCs: Attention, Balance, Clarity and Compassion, with an emphasis on the quality of attention and not simply the quantity.

By creating a personalized daily practice utilizing structured meditation and movement, mindfulness moments and gratitude journaling, we can also change hormone levels: Increasing testosterone enables us to feel more motivated, while at the same time decreasing cortisol levels which are linked to physical and emotional stress as well as illness. 

As we practice, we begin to see changes in our brains by increasing the pre-frontal cortex involved in modulating emotional responses, and learn to process our body sensations and fear centers more effectively, becoming less reactive and more balanced in holistic ways.

The practice of combining mindful awareness, meditation and movement is also effective for dealing with anxiety, eating disorders, anger, worry, depression, chronic pain or sleep issues. We can literally change our brains for the better, including how we age.

For those considering embarking on a personalized practice this New Year, it is best to seek an experienced teacher or program that will show you how to create and maintain your practice as you learn to surf your 65,000 daily thoughts.

As we welcome 2014, embrace the power and beauty of this moment and give yourself the greatest present of all…the PRESENT.

Linda Janasz-Rosen is an Integrative Coach, Meditation Practitioner, holds her PhD (Hons) in Communications, and developed the integrated Mindful, Meditation and Movement (MMM) Program that teaches participants the science behind mindful meditation, using the most effective meditation tools, including didactic and group dynamics that help individuals live a healthier and joyful life. She is also an Emmy award-winning producer, journalist and teacher who works with individuals and corporations to find balance in an unbalanced world.

She will be leading the six-week MMM New Year’s Transformational Program at Weston Yoga, beginning Wednesday, January 15, 8-9:30 p.m. A free trial session will be held on Saturday, January 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Weston Yoga is located at 2600 Glades Circle, Suite 400. For more information, call 954-349-6868 or visit WestonYoga.com. See ad page 46.

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