written by Alexandra Wade
Sarah Noll-Wilson, ARAG Talent Development Business Partner
Our second round of instructor tips comes from Sarah Noll-Wilson. Noll-Wilson is deeply passionate about helping individuals and teams become their best. She creates meaningful learning and development experiences for ARAG as their Talent Development Business Partner. She holds a master’s degree from Drake University specializing in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance. She is an adjunct professor at Drake University and a guest lecturer at University of Northern Iowa. According to her husband, she is “prone to inspiration.” Noll-Wilson will be teaching the “Mindless or Mindful?: Let’s Explore Mindfulness” LEARNwest class from 6:30–8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Nov. 4–25.
Sarah Noll-Wilson’s Three Simple Tips to Help You Increase Your Mindfulness
1. When in doubt, breathe. A simple activity that calms mind and lowers stress is to take a slow, purposeful breath. When we take a moment to focus on something like our breath, a signal is sent to our brain to calm down and relax. Then, it helps our mind begin to settle. If it helps, inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 3.
2. Don’t forget to S.T.O.P. When your mind is racing with stress or you want to connect with the present, remember the acronym S.T.O.P.
- S—Stop what you are doing. Create a moment of pause. You might consider practicing this at specific times: when you first wake up, after lunch, sitting at a stop light, etc.
- T—Take a breath. Just breathe and make your breath your focus. This is not about deep breathing, but rather about paying attention to breathing as a way to focus the mind.
- O—Observe your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Investigate and observe what is happening in the moment. What thoughts are arising? How are they impacting your emotions or physical sensations? Can you notice how thoughts, feelings, and sensations are not permanent? If you are struggling, naming your emotions and thoughts—”That’s a worry thought”—can have a calming effect.
- P—Proceed with something productive and supportive in the moment. It may be leaning into an emotion, taking a walk, or talking with a friend.
3. Savor the moment or the meal. A great way to practice mindfulness is when we are engaged in an activity we can do in our sleep, like eating, cleaning, brushing, showering, etc. Pick one activity and see if you can savor the moment by connecting with all of your senses. What are you seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting? How does this activity make you feel? What do you notice in your body? Try to discover something new about the task at hand.
Watch the Community Education blog for more instructor tips during the third week of every month.