Author Terrie Nathan: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in everyday life as they occur and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over […]

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Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in everyday life as they occur and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past. Your mind connects to your body and your body to your mind. When you feel better your energy increases and you increase the necessary endorphins to thrive and bring on feelings of overall wellness.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Terrie Nathan.

Terrie is a Best-selling Author, Confidence Strategist, Speaker, and CEO of Strong Girl Enterprises. She coaches and educates organizations, teachers, moms and young girls in middle school/high school to cultivate confidence by teaching them strategies on mindfulness, positive self-talk, self-worth, body image, and overall mental wellness.

Terrie draws her strength, energy, and desire to help girls & women everywhere from her amazing, supportive, and loving husband, children, and grandchildren.Terrie Nathan Author Speaker Confidence StrategistBuilding Strong Connections I’m an expert at speaking to organizations, educators, women, and young girls. Coaching and…

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Perhaps I was always meant for this path but first had to go through the stages and the necessary experience before I could embark on the next chapter in life. For several years I had always felt a nudge to do more and to impact in a different kind of way. So after much debate (with myself/family/God) and many signs (including gut feelings), I decided to leave an 18-year corporate career that provided security, benefits, and perhaps even complacency that can go with a corporate job. However, there was still something missing…significance, a vision, impact…more to this life. I had the vision to empower and encourage women and girls everywhere, to build and instill confidence in the next generation. I had a desire to give back what my grandmother had given me so many years ago…confidence and strength. So I decided to embark on the climb of entrepreneurship with new terrain, new views, with many potential cliffs and this is where Strong Girl Spirit® was born. They say the best view always comes after the hardest climb and this was going to be a tough climb, however, I have been in some tough climbs before and I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Having this mindset has kept me successful all my career, so why not now? Being mindful and intentional is a mind game in your own mind, no one can do it for you, you are in control of the success you desire and the perspective you take along the way. While I’m only about a year into this journey, I know my previous life/business experiences will be the rope I need to stay in the climb. Are there ups and downs, of course especially now, but everything worthwhile is uphill. To stay in the climb mindfulness and serenity play a big part in the success of you and your business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most interesting story is the story I (we all) are currently living in now. This is a story of change, of perspective, of loss, of gain, of adjustment and a new normal. As we navigate these times of change and realize we have no control over what is happening all around us, we do, however, have control over how we choose to experience it. How can we react differently to what is going on? How can we grow, learn, and write a new chapter to this story we are living with a different positive perspective? This is an experience of a lifetime that we are ALL going through now. More than anytime ever in my career and my life I must think about how I can recreate, renew, rebuild, and relearn. I talked about the climb earlier and how the best views come from the hardest climbs, well we are in a climb right now and just know that if you choose to keep climbing, with the right mindset, the view will be priceless.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Keep PEOPLE your focus. You can’t grow, you can’t succeed, and you can’t accomplish anything without our people. Hire right, train right, instill and role model the mission and values of your company. Allow people to have a voice, some of the best ideas come from your front line folks. When your people are happy your business will thrive, you’ll see a better overall performance, and your turnover will be minimal. I like to ask these two questions of leaders…”Would you work for you?” And “Are people happy to see you coming or going?” The answers to these questions will determine your culture.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

One of my go-to favorite books time and time again is “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield.

The very first principle in the book is to take 100% responsibility for your life. Jack says most of us are conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. However, to be successful you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life, the good the bad the ugly. I have had MANY occasions in my life where I have wanted to blame others and complain to anyone who would listen to me about my circumstances and or situation. This one principle is the starting line for owning your world. This book has had an impact on the way in which I conduct and view my life, and has for over 10 years. I can visualize the 100% responsibility in my head every time I try to go sideways, and I stop, course correct or take a different perspective, but I own it. I use this book as a go-to workbook, year after year it keeps me centered and 100% responsible. Happy reading!

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Being mindful is having an awareness of your emotional journey and having the ability to direct it. Are you noticing things with an attitude of acceptance, openness, kindness, and curiosity for yourself and others? Mindfulness pays attention and helps us to choose the emotional states we want. When we engage in mindfulness we can then choose the meaning to what is going on. We don’t always have to go to the negative side of things, we can dig deeper and see what other meaning there is. Intellect and mindfulness are not opposed to each other, they work together to help you stay flexible and help you positively direct your behavior.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

The benefits are endless. To start mindfulness helps you to build a stronger immune system, minimizes discomfort, promotes better sleep, lowers your stress levels, can help lower blood pressure, helps improve attention, helps to banish negative thoughts, and reduces anxiety. When you improve your mood you increase your overall positive emotions.

Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in everyday life as they occur and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past. Your mind connects to your body and your body to your mind. When you feel better your energy increases and you increase the necessary endorphins to thrive and bring on feelings of overall wellness.

Mindfulness is like your mobile device, you can use it anywhere, anytime, but if you don’t charge it, there is no benefit. Charge yourself with daily mindful routines.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

1. Connect with your senses. The gateway into the present moment is your touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound. But oftentimes we miss this. Take a moment to smell the coffee, the fresh air, to look at a flower or a tree, to hear a bird chirp, or the waves crash, the touch of a soft blanket or fresh bread. Connecting with your senses allows you to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, if only for a moment. It does wonder for being in the moment and appreciating what’s in front of us. I personally will listen to the waves while walking on the boardwalk, it connects me immediately with gratitude and appreciation.

2. Self-awareness. Watching yourself like a hawk, so to speak, by accurately perceiving your own emotions and the thoughts they bring. Being aware of your emotional state allows you to know who and what pushes your buttons, which helps you to better react to people and situations in a positive manner. When someone I know starts to get negative it will automatically set me off, I know this about myself, so I on purpose, take a deep breath and think before I respond, this has saved me from saying something I would regret later.

3. Make meditation a daily habit. Meditation can be as easy as sitting in the quiet or listening to music, it can be done sitting or while walking or on a bike ride (not with your eyes closed of course), it doesn’t require a special setting. It doesn’t have to take long, even 5 or 10 minutes will have a positive impact on your day and your overall wellness. Anyway you slice it, meditation has huge benefits from increased energy, happiness, peacefulness and reduction of stress. I often have people tell me they don’t have time to meditate, however the short amount of time you take to meditate, has a huge return on your overall well being, and you are worth it! I schedule my meditation or it doesn’t happen, I schedule time with myself every morning, so I can get my head straight.

4. Awareness of how your body is feeling. Are you tense, do you feel full of anxiety or stress? When these moments happen it’s a perfect time to stop and assess what is happening. Perhaps you need a break or need to take a breath. Our bodies tell us a lot, but often times we don’t listen until it’s too late. You know the feeling, your shoulders pull back and you get in that mode? Being aware of what your body is doing it important to how you will negatively or positively respond to someone or something.

5. Be kind to yourself (self-acceptance) Think about treating yourself like you would a small child, a good friend, your pet. You deserve the same compassion, start treating yourself accordingly, and be tolerant of your shortcomings (we all have them). We don’t like it when others treat us poorly, but all too often we treat ourselves even worse than others would. Nobody’s perfect, allow yourself to be imperfect, we are all flawed in some way, love your quirky, silly, messed up hair, beautiful self. LOVE WHO YOU ARE! I’m far from perfect and I can get distracted on a moments notice, I know this about myself, so I give myself a break when it happens and then get started back again. If I get down on myself it takes me forever to get back in the groove again. Forgive you!

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Stay connected, with phone calls, text messages, letters, cards, emails, whatever ways you can stay connected in these times. Albeit we are social distancing we can still make a touchpoint with someone via these other ways. I am sending cards, it’s fun for me and my family and friends are enjoying getting them. The connection is important for our well-being and these are some of the ways we can stay connected.

Listen instead of doing all the talking. It’s easy to get caught up in the “I just want to help mode” but often times people just want to talk and get things out of their heads…thats where listening comes in. Simply put, pay attention, don’t multi-task while listening, just be in the moment with and for them. I know this can be tough at times, to give your full attention to someone, but now more than ever we need to be there for each other, even if remotely.

Share ideas and positive habits that help you. I will often say, “Would you like to hear some ideas that are currently helping me cope?” It’s tough to think straight at times, and your suggestions might be just what the doctor ordered so to speak. I have shared many times with friends that I get up each morning, at least Monday through Friday, at the same time, so I can stay in a routine and it also helps with my fitness plan as well.

Help others to focus on what’s thriving around them. You may have to give them some examples, but oftentimes by doing this, they can start to move out of the negative space they are in. Examples might be as simple as the sun is shining today, have you read any good books/articles this week, are you still able to take a walk and breathe in the fresh air, what is there today to be grateful for. In the midst of crisis or change, it’s tough for people to recognize the beauty and the good right in front of them.

Pray together. With the church’s doors shutting, it is time for us to show that the church has never been about the building. It’s about building each other. Encourage and pray with and for others. We often find ourselves sharing encouragement and prayer with others via Zoom or FaceTime. Hey whatever works, it’s about building each other up.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

My resources are pretty easy, first off I schedule me time everyday, if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. Next I use sticky notes to remind me to breathe, to be grateful, to be mindful and in the moment, to appreciate, to positively remind me that I’m still here, living, breathing and being. And oh yes there is the mirror…that works too (hint…I just put my sticky notes on my mirror). All easy, but effective!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates” Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. This quote is relevant most days in my life, as it’s easy to let the negativity seep into your day…I say it several times a day to keep me aligned with an appreciative and mindful attitude. This quote is relevant for the time we are in now, don’t get sucked into the negative, APPRECIATE!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Women supporting Women, Girls supporting Girls…

A positive movement to empower, encourage and support each other in a space where we can all thrive together, not apart. #stronggirlspirit

Strong Girl Spirit®

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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