Breathe in, breathe out. Focus on your breathing. Clear your mind. Slip into a stable place of peace and let go of your stress.
Those simplistic mantras, used in meditation and mindfulness practices, can help reduce stress, calm your thoughts, and relax your mind.
Mindfulness and meditation have become increasingly popular over the years. Both Robbie Spier, owner of Burlington Hypnosis, and Arnaud Painvin, owner of Mindfulness Zen Meditation in Oakville, agree that it’s because people are more overwhelmed than ever before.
“We are more stressed out and more burnt out and so on. With meditation we learn to tame the mind,” Painvin said.
Spier explains that a simple meditation or mindful practice is a great place to start, but people can take the process so much further by trying hypnosis.
“The work we do with hypnosis helps people take things a lot further and make a dramatic change for themselves,” Spier said. “We’re helping people transform themselves so subconsciously they’re perceiving life differently, they’re functioning differently in terms of how they’re interacting with life, and that original pattern of creating stress changes so they can be more relaxed in general.”
Both Painvin and Spier say that people should practice meditation or mindfulness every day – even if just for ten minutes, “If you can meditate every day it really helps you,” Spier said. “It settles down your nervous system, it helps your body heal, and it helps you to decompress.”
Meditation can be done individually, or in a group at Painvin’s meditation facility, or integrated with hypnosis at Spier’s clinic. Spier is a trained hypnotist and uses her practice to help people work through subconsciously built-up stress. She can also help people quit smoking and overeating to better manage their stress.
“A lot of our clients come to us to stop smoking, but behind all that, most of the time they need help managing stress and that’s why they’re overeating or smoking,” she said. “They’re using it to cope with life, but we’re teaching them to change how they cope with life. We all have stress, but they need some new resources to learn how to cope in a healthy way.”
Hypnosis is commonly misunderstood as a way to lose control, Spier explains. People often see hypnosis at a stage show and worry that hypnosis will reveal their secrets or make them do something embarrassing, which Spier says is completely untrue.
“A lot of people think you’re controlling them, which you’re not. It’s pretty amazing what the subconscious mind can do, and people are doing it, they’re choosing to do it, nobody is forcing them,” she said. “People come here, and we screen them, meet with them for free and evaluate them to make sure that they have a good understanding of what we do.”
Spier adds that in today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed. Adding even half an hour a day of meditation or mindfulness gives you a chance to reset, relax and give your nervous system time to settle down. She explains there’s real value in the process and after meditating, it feels like you have hit a reset button.
Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill – and it’s usually easier if you have a structure. What’s most important is consistency. It takes time to become comfortable with your mind. Be patient while you practise and before long, you’ll start reaping the benefits of this proven and trusted relaxation method.
by Allie Murray
Mindfulness Zen Meditation, Oakville
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