Have you ever worked on being more mindful? It takes practice and patience. But mindfulness may help you age wisely. Berit Lewis, author of Ageing Upwards: A Mindfulness-based Framework for the Longevity Revolution, believes so. In her view, “Ageing isn’t about decline. It’s about transition.” Listen in for how mindfulness can enhance your life in the years ahead.
Berit Lewis joins us The Netherlands.
Berit Lewis is an accredited MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Teacher, trained in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and also trained at Mindfulness in Schools Foundations (MiSP) to teach .B Foundations for teachers.
She is a category 1 member of VMBN (Vereniging Mindfulness Based Trainers Nederland en Vlaanderen) and holds a BA (Honours) in Psychology, a MA of Communication and a MSc of Vitality and Ageing. She has extensive experience in teaching MBSR courses in groups or to individuals.
Recently as part of her master thesis at Leyden Academy for Vitality and Ageing she developed, taught and researched an online Mindfulness Based Vitality and Ageing (MBVA) course for older persons. She has previously also developed a successful mindfulness course for teenagers.
Before founding Thriving Life she worked as a communication – and PR – specialist in Denmark and Australia – including 10 years as a communications specialist at the Danish Defence. Berit is Danish, married to a Welshman and lives in the Netherlands with two teenage children.
For More on Berit Lewis
On Successful Aging
“I really think that that whole term Successful Aging is hugely misleading. So, it’s success criteria for, for what? To avoid ageing? To stay young.? And it also really feeds into this whole story we have in our culture about aging being bad and it’s something we should avoid. Ageing is not about decline. It’s about transition. And so if we want to really use the term Successful Aging, I think the success criteria should be more how to embrace these transitions – according to what each one of us and as individual thinks is important to us. And the four skills that I mentioned in my book, Ageing Upwards, is to be aware of this ability to change our mindset, to see things in a different perspective and, and to be able to broaden out our awareness so that we can meet all the challenges we see with affection and self-compassion.”
“That whole idea about being in the present moment and relaxing is a part of mindfulness. It helps us to practice our ability to pay attention to the present moment, and for some people it also helps them calm down their nervous system. But I think there’s so much more to mindfulness than just being present. The true benefit from mindfulness really lies when we start to see, to gain this awareness as I explained before, so we are not just in the present moment, but we are aware of being in the present moment. It’s like this extra layer of it.”
On Learning to Practice Mindfulness
“Unfortunately, mindfulness is not a quick fix. I wish it was. It takes a lot of time and effort and it can also be unpleasant because we are seeing things that we might not want to see. And instead of running away from discomfort and pain, we’re turning towards it and meeting it with curiosity. So that’s what you have to be prepared for. And what’s funny is a lot of people, whenever I teach mindfulness, they come back to me after maybe three weeks and say, I’m supposed to feel less stressed by doing this stress reduction course, but all of a sudden I have more thoughts. And they don’t really notice the thoughts more, they become much more aware of the busyness that we have in our head. And in the beginning it can actually be a source of even more stress. So that’s also something that you might want to be prepared for when you you go into mindfulness – and it’s the beginning. But then eventually you start to see what it all is and how you can also cope with it. So it’s not easy to learn mindfulness. It does take some time. It’s like learning any new skill really. When you learn to play the violin or play soccer, it takes time and you’ve got to practice it. And finally, another thing that’s also hard is you can’t understand mindfulness with your intellect alone. It’s not something you can just read a book about and understand. It’s really something you have to practice. You have to feel it with your body and your senses and trying to let go of this analytical brain that most of us spent most of our time in.”
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