Cultivating inner resources in uncertain and stressful times
Today, we are facing unprecedented challenges: many of us worldwide feel disturbed and unsettled in these turbulent times.
According to WHO the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of millions of people with close to one billion people suffering from mental illness in the world. Depression and anxiety have almost doubled in 2020 compared to 2019. We have to adapt to frequently changing situations and a stream of constantly worrying information; nothing feels certain anymore and long term planning has become nearly impossible to uphold. It is perfectly normal to feel less rested in this type of environment, and to feel rather worried or even stressed.
It is therefore more important than ever to cultivate resources such as mindfulness and self-compassion - and learn how to ground yourself. Mindfulness can help you face these new challenges and increase your resilience towards everything life sends your way.
In this video our teacher Jake Dartington explains why mindfulness is helpful in the pandemic.
Are you living on autopilot?
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the demands and challenges you are facing? You may have a lot of roles to combine: being an efficient professional, a caring parent, a loving partner or friend, keeping in touch with your family, staying healthy and fit, ... All this requires a lot of planning and thinking ahead.
But even at times when you’d like to wind down, your thoughts continue to race. Especially in these challenging times where we are bombarded with unsettling information, it’s very difficult to stop the worrying and overthinking. As a consequence, you might not really be present for the people you care about.
You may be in what’s called the “autopilot mode”, focusing on acting rather than being present. It can be truly exhausting, because it triggers your body’s stress system.
You are not alone. In our busy lives with so many stimuli and distractions, our stress system gets triggered much more often than it was designed to be. Add to that the constant solicitations of our smartphones which keep our body and mind in a constant state of alert and the current pandemic – they all contribute to building up chronic stress and fatigue.
Mindfulness offers ways for you to step out of this stressful autopilot mode and to build up inner resources of calm and focus instead.
Rediscovering the sources of wellbeing inside you
It is possible to find an alternative to the stress and struggle you are experiencing - even when the world is flashing red. There are deep sources of wellbeing within you, no matter how stuck, helpless or frantic you might feel right now. Mindfulness helps you to rediscover your inner sources of happiness, peace and strength.
How? By training yourself to live more in the present moment, rather than constantly thinking about the past or the future. By learning to ground yourself, to be kinder to yourself, and to take good care of yourself, moment by moment.
A mindfulness training is built up around different forms of meditation that can be learned by everyone. Combined with insights from cognitive psychology and a set of attitudes, it is a powerful tool that prevents normal feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness from spiralling downwards into prolonged periods of unhappiness and exhaustion, or even burn-out or clinical depression.
Watch our teachers explain why mindfulness is relevant in these times:
Feeling connected supported by a strong community
Participants of our 8-week courses have shared that coming together online or in-person at a fixed time over the course of a few months helps them to cultivate new habits and feel supported by a group of like-minded practitioners. It is a moment to look forward to, a momentary break to focus on yourself and on your own needs. That is why offering daily morning meditations, 8-week mindfulness and positive neuroplasticity courses and regular come-back events remains at the heart of what we do.
Rooted in science
Ever since the 8-week mindfulness programme (MBSR) was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts in the 1970's, it has been thoroughly researched in clinical trials. Many benefits have been found, and you don't have to spend many years meditating. Research has confirmed that committing to 8 weeks of practice is enough to see the benefits for yourself.
Mindfulness not only boosts your happiness levels, and reduces the impact of stress. It actually changes the structure of your brain - and the way it works, for the better. It also strengthens your immune system, and offers support in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
For an overview of the latest research, you can visit the website of the American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA) or the Institute of Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom.
We also produced a series "mindfulness myths and misunderstandings" about what mindfulness is not. Feel free to check it out!
For young people
As young people are increasingly struggling with mental health issues, especially now due to the impact of the corona virus, we find it important to learn these mental skills at an early age.
The Ku Leuven offers every Tuesday from 5.00 to 5.30 pm a free mindfulness session for young people in Dutch.
We also offer mindfulness trainings or workshops for schools. Feel free to get in touch for a personalized offer.
Where to start?
If you are new to mindfulness, the best way to start is with the 8-week mindfulness course. In this course you will learn to integrate mindfulness into your daily life, step-by-step, under the guidance of experienced mindfulness trainers and supported by a group of people who experience the same challenges as you.
If you have already done an 8-week course in the past, and would like to deepen or refresh your mindfulness practice, we offer many follow-up activities such as positive neuroplasticity training, retreats and days of nourishment.
Would you like us to guide you on your journey towards a more fulfilling, happier life and help you equip yourself with inner resources? A life with less stress, more clarity, and more focus on what truly matters? A life where you remain grounded, no matter what happens?
You can choose between three formulas:
- online courses where you can tune in from the safety and comfort from your own home.
- live events in beautiful and spacious locations or outdoor in small groups, according to current health and safety standards.
- individual coaching tailored to your specific needs
Explore our agenda, we might have just the right solution for you.
Also feel free to check out the frequently asked questions on our courses.
We look forward to meeting you soon.