Throughout this training, you will be encouraged to create practices in your life that will enhance both your work and your life in general.
Movement and the Mind-Body Connection
Most of us grew up being educated in environments that required us to sit in our seats to learn. We didn’t have the freedom to get up when we wanted; often we needed permission from the teacher just to get up to go to the bathroom.
In one of our modules, we will explore our need to create categories and containers, and the limitations of siloed thinking. In the past, we have thought of the body and mind as very separate parts of ourselves. That kind of thinking informed the “sit and get through it” approach to learning.
Today, thanks to learning from modalities such as the medicine wheel model that integrate our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of ourselves, we know that learning must include absorption and synthesis. We need to move knowledge from living just in our heads to also living in our bodies, otherwise our learning stays at surface level.
It would be so valuable to apply the same understanding and insight we have about the importance of living an integrated, holistic life to our experience of learning. The truth is, we learn better when we move our bodies.
Throughout this training, whether you are learning online or in an in-person training, we will guide you through some simple movements to support the learning process. We also encourage you to stretch or move (in a way that feels good for you) anytime you feel the need to do so.
Move when you feel the need to move.
Also consider our need for movement when you are working as a peer support worker. There is a trend in recent years to have “walking meetings.” We know that moving our bodies supports us to connect with others in a different way. Many people are able to relax and open up when they are moving in a way they don’t when sitting across the table from someone. There are also many health benefits to moving our bodies. What a gift that in your role, you get to support people to access these beneficial practices.
Mindfulness as a Practice
We will be covering mindfulness as a practice throughout this training. In essence, mindfulness is an embodied awareness of what is happening around you.
Here are a few mindfulness practices you can try out right where you are:
- Consider deepening your awareness of your mind, emotions and feelings
- Consider deepening your awareness of your body, noticing how your skin is being touched by the air, by your clothing, by your chair
- Now notice how it feels to pay attention to these things
It is very easy to start living on autopilot. We do the things we need to do, but we aren’t really present. We are often thinking of the next thing we need to do. According to Dr. Ellen Langer, a mindfulness researcher at Harvard University, “Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things.” (2018) There is so much research that supports the positive impact of mindfulness practices on our mental and physical health.