Posts Tagged ‘ mindfulness ’

Catching the Stress Reaction before it Gets You

Posted on: March 9th, 2017 by Liz No Comments

One of the greatest benefits for me, of practicing mindfulness, has been to notice when I’m getting caught up in my stories and creating additional stress for myself.

Did you know that we react to imagined (perceived) threats in the same way that we react to a real threat? So for example, if I am rushing to a meeting and get caught in a traffic jam, and in my mind, I start worrying about what everyone is going to think of me for being late, how the meeting is going to be a disaster now, what if I don’t get there in time, what will “they” think, the physiological response in my body is the same as if I were to come face to face with a lion!

Through mindfulness practice, I become aware of my physical responses to the external stressor – my clenched fists on the steering wheel, tight jaw, scowling face, thumping heart, emotions of irritation and frustration, the thoughts about being late, the other bad drivers, and so on.


This is a situation that is completely out of my control and this reaction I’m having is not going to change it.

If I catch myself I can remember to breathe, remind myself that the situation is not actually life-threatening, and sometimes I’ve even been surprised, because in that moment, as I come back to the present, I notice the beautiful sky… feel compassion for the other drivers who are in the same situation that I’m in… and arrive at my meeting in a far calmer state and more able to contribute something of significance.

Most times I’m not even late.

To find out more about our next Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, please go to

For an interesting talk by Jon Kabat-Zinn about “thoughts”, see this link:

Crouch-Touch-Pause-Engage for Mindful Connection

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Liz No Comments

Crouch-Touch-Pause Engage: what does rugby have to do with mindfulness?

I remember a few years ago facilitating a retreat, over the weekend of an “important” rugby match. This was during the time when the phrase “crouch-touch-pause-engage” was used by the referee during a scrum. There were no televisions at the retreat centre; however those who wanted to watch the game were invited to the retreat owner’s home.

At some point during the match, one of the participants on the retreat, commented on how the phrase “crouch-touch-pause-engage” made her think of what happens when we apply this principle in our daily lives. Over the past two years Julie and I have been on a Teacher-Training Program through Stellenbosch University in running Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction Interventions, and what we’ve learnt in our training, reminded me of this comment all those year ago.

In applying this phrase to the concept of mindfulness, the following is what came up for me: when we “crouch” – sit on our cushion or chair with the intention of being with ourselves; “touch” – actually make contact with our inner thoughts, emotions, body (feel the cushion beneath us, hear the birds outside, connect with the present moment); “pause” – allow ourselves to rest, breathe, BE still for just a moment; we find that we ENGAGE with Life.

In my own experience, the benefits of this engagement have been that I am more aware, I’m able to handle external stressors with greater ease, calm, and equanimity (balance), and my relationships feel exponentially more honest, authentic, real and connected.

What a Gift and a Blessing this has been.

For more information about our next Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction Program , go to