Gwen: Through a couple of articles that I read online about Mindfulness, I am always curious about how it works and to experience the effect personally rather than through the readings online.
As I was reaching a state of stagnation and was searching for courses to enrich my life, this course caught my attention.
MiMo: Tell us about your experience in the MBSR program.
Gwen: It was an experiential learning experience for me. Without focusing on spirituality, the secular mindfulness classes showed me many ways of practicing mindfulness, it definitely allowed to me to customize my own way of practicing on a day to day basis.
The group experience of practicing together also allowed me to seek comfort and support. Love to see how people find time for themselves in the midst of the fast paced society regardless of the different roles we hold.
MiMo: How has mindfulness contributed to your personal well-being?
Gwen: I love the process of self discovery in the midst of practicing. Understanding how my body experienced stresses, how my mind always wandered to "what's next" and my inner need of yearning for positive emotions. Most importantly, letting go and not holding on to any self judgement in the process of self realization.
MiMo: How has mindfulness supported you in your professional work?
Gwen: As a social worker, I work with different people on a daily basis. People from different walks of life, having different beliefs, values and expectations of others. Work can get tough especially when trying to balance relationships with different stakeholders while not compromising outcomes. In the midst of helping and supporting others, it is inevitable that we will face stresses and problems of others which led to me losing sight of myself in the process of it.
Now with efforts of being mindful, I take notice and place focus on my emotional and mental well-being while responding to the needs of others. Not just to the direct beneficiaries, but also to my colleagues and the different stakeholders in my professional work. I learnt to take ownership of my own well-being so that I can better take care of others in need too. Hopefully one day, I can bring mindfulness in my work to the beneficiaries. :)
MiMo: How have you incorporated mindfulness into your daily life?
Gwen: I learnt to take things slower, allowing myself to appreciate the process of my usual mundane routine. Routines such as brushing teeth, drinking coffee and the walk to the bus stop were more fun when incorporating mindfulness. Noticing new experiences each day, discovering a different side of life. The formal practices placed discipline in me to set aside time for myself - my physical, emotional and mental well being. Love how I can end the day by just focusing on myself rather than thinking about my work for the next day.
MiMo: Any words of advice for people who are thinking about learning mindfulness?
Gwen: Practicing mindfulness is do-able and sustainable. Little steps towards mindfulness do make an impact to your life. Let the journey of self discovery begins. :)
Gwen worked as a senior social worker in the social service sector supporting young offenders, youths at risk of delinquency, and young persons who experienced social-emotional issues. With relationship building as the key driver for her professional work, Gwen believes strongly that knowing herself allows her to remain genuine in the process of touching the lives of young people. Mindfulness played a crucial part to her journey of self discovery.