SWISS MEDICAL EXPERTISE: ZURICH, MALLORCA, LONDON, NEW YORK

4 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

We all want to be present, but getting there is easier said than done. Especially today, when we have a million things vying for our attention on a daily basis. The mind is constantly filtering out noise in pursuit of a calmer, more fulfilled lifestyle. For high-profile people, it can be even louder. At The Balance, we’ve built a program to help level out that noise by teaching people how to stay mindful in the face of it. We give each of our clients a new toolkit to bring back to the world. We work to restore the brain-body connection. To discuss some of our practices and dive into what mindfulness really is, we sat down with our Founder & CEO, Abdullah Boulad, to get his insights. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness in its simplest form is about presence. It’s the practice of presence. Our bodies are always here, while our minds have the ability to travel – both to the past and the future. Abdullah Boulad notes, “The mind is a trickster; it is a shape shifter, an illusionist, and what better way to enslave a being than by having it look at illusions?” Everyone experiences mental chatter in their life time – whether it be distractions or something more upsetting like intrusive thoughts. Mindfulness is a daily practice that allows these habits to slowly melt away.

Everyone has access to the practice of mindfulness because it is in our control. That being said, when first learning to embrace awareness and let go of judgements, your mind will resist. This is natural. “Mindfulness is very much like a muscle, you can train it to become stronger. The more you focus your attention; the better the result over time,” says Abdullah.

The more we engage with mindfulness, the more we can control our immediate reactions to our environment and surrounding circumstances. It is quite easy to jump to an intense emotion like rage or upset. But when we practice mindfulness, we practice letting go of what we can’t control. This is because much of the practice revolves around the present moment, and getting back to our most truthful, calm state.

Mindfulness is something you can practice in a multitude of ways. Here are a few of our favourites:

Breathing exercises:

This thousand year old ritual has been practiced by nearly every culture in the world. When we connect to our breath, we connect to our present moment. When we breath deeply, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system. We send signals to the anxious part of our brain that we are safe and don’t need to be in fight or flight. You want to let your lungs and belly fill, sending the air deep into the body rather than keeping it shallow in the throat and chest. It can be particularly helpful to do exercises with mental visualisations. “Visualise your breath as fresh and positive and then imagine releasing that stale air along with all that is holding you back.”

Alternative fitness:

Alternative fitness is any kind of movement that has more of a rhythm to it. It’s not static, it’s active. Things like dance, martial arts, ballet and yoga are active. You have to be focused on the moment you are in to be able to do it. When people speak about these activities, they often talk about their mind ‘turning off.’ That is the feeling of dropping into the physical body, and out of the mind by engaging your muscles, raising your heart rate, and focusing you on the task at hand. Beyond this, these exercises are an act of joyfulness.

Equine therapy:

Horses are highly limbic creatures, meaning they have an alert emotional system. They have the ability to sense our tensions and mood and are easily affected by it. If someone is off, a horse will feel it and can be triggered by it. This requires the rider to be aware of their own emotions too. You have to be mindful not only of yourself but another being. This, as Abdullah says, “expands your brains capacity for attention, and allows you to access a higher level of consciousness.

We’ve incorporated everything we know to be grounding into our unique, individualised program. This looks different for each person. Our complementary therapies range from art, music and equine therapy. We have experts across all disciplines from our yoga master, Sarah Elfrin to our Chi Gong and meditation master, Antonio Bellosa. We work with the breath in various ways. It’s incorporated into psychotherapeutic treatments as well as somatic practices like Thai-massage, Rolfing, and acupuncture. We know that different techniques work on different days which is why we expose our clients to all of these practices. We create a powerful toolbox to help people navigate the impact of stress and society’s interference.

Mindfulness is the practice of presence. There is no one way to do it. But the more we do it, the better we become at practicing it. Some examples of techniques include breath work, alternative fitness routines, and equine therapy. At The Balance, we’ve incorporated all techniques into our program and hired the best experts in each field to give our clients an expert toolbox. When we lose our connection between the body and the mind, our life can quickly become chaotic. That’s why these practices are necessary to help us remain calm in the face of intense situations. As an affluent individual, we know the stakes are often raised in terms of pressures and stressors. We know the lifestyle, and we understand how to equip you with the skills to go with it.

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