Ora Nadrich of ‘The Institute for Transformational Thinking’: How To Develop Mindfulness During Stressful Or Uncertain Times
Do a visualization exercise with them where they imagine themselves somewhere that gives them pleasure. It can be a place they have traveled to, or how they feel when they’re doing something that is pleasing like getting a massage, or lying in a bath filled with fragrant aromatherapy oils, candles lit, and meditative music playing.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ora Nadrich.
Ora Nadrich is the founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking. She is the author of Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity, named in the 100 Best Mindfulness Books of All Time by BookAuthority, and Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever. She is a certified Life Coach, Thought Coach, and Mindfulness teacher, specializing in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.
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?
When I was 15, one of my older sisters had a mental breakdown. It was devastating for my family and I. Being the youngest of four, I took it quite hard. My sister was very special to me, and it was difficult to accept that she would never be the same again once she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I began to have anxiety, and it would come and go over the years, but eventually got worse. I had a thriving career as an actress and screenwriter, but my anxiety was beginning to impede my career. This took me on a long psycho-spiritual journey to come to understand and overcome my anxiety, and I devoted myself to learning everything I could about mental health. I became certified in different therapeutic and contemplative modalities such as Mindfulness, and eventually became a Life Coach. I wrote my first book, Says Who?, which is a cognitive method I created for overcoming negative and fear-based thoughts. I founded and became president of my institute, The IFTT — The Institute For Transformational Thinking, and have created an online Thought Coach certification program which has nearly 100 international graduates. My second book, Live True — A Mindfulness Guide To Authenticity continues my work in the area of Mindfulness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I can’t say that I have one specific story that is interesting, but I can share that I love when I tell people about my life trajectory, and everything I went through that took me to where I am today, how it touches them, especially those that can relate, and have gone through pain and suffering themselves. They also find it inspiring that I went from being an actress and screenwriter to an author and Mindfulness expert. Many people have told me that I am an example of how you can literally re-invent yourself at any point in your life.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
My best advice would be to implement Mindfulness in the work environment. The only way for businesses to thrive in the best way possible, and for employees and co-workers to be productive in the most optimum way, is to work in a cohesive environment that values conscious communication coupled with mindful skills that are beneficial for everyone in the working environment.
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?
There are so many books that have impacted me, and most of them are in the area of psychology and spirituality. I would say that Carl Jung’s book, “Man and His Symbols” is one of my favorites because it introduces us to our unconscious, and that is where we can come to understand who we really are by going deeper within ourselves.
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?
The state of being mindful means you are in a non-judgmental state of complete awareness of your thoughts, emotions, or whatever experience you are having in the present moment.
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 of being mindful, or practicing Mindfulness can help relieve stress, anxiety, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and reduce emotional and physical pain and suffering. I like to add that it also makes you a much more aware and conscious human being!
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 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 during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each?
These are very difficult and challenging times, which is why the practice of Mindfulness is so important. So many people are experiencing very intense emotions, and feel at times completely taken over by them. Mindfulness helps you be aware of the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing in the moment. Instead of reacting to them, your awareness helps guide you through what you are feeling with a type of compassion for yourself. Rather than reacting to a thought or emotion, you can simply observe it, and ask yourself, “What is the best thing I can do for myself right now that will help me feel better.” Or you can implement a very effective technique from my book, Says Who?, called “Release and Replace,” which is replacing a negative or fear-based thought with its positive counterpart. A few good examples of that pertaining to the upheaval caused by political uncertainty and the pandemic would be replacing a thought like, “I am so afraid of the political uncertainty right now” with “The political uncertainty does not affect my day-to-day life” or change a thought like, “The pandemic really scares me, and I’m afraid I’m not going to be okay” to “I am healthy, and doing all of the right things to make sure I don’t get the Coronavirus.” Breaking this down to five easy steps would be:
- Practice Mindfulness, which helps you be non-reactive.
- Try to meditate, or do mindful activities like mindful walking, or mindful eating, etc.
- Use the Release & Replace technique to change a negative thought to its positive counterpart.
- Don’t watch the news incessantly.
- Do something healthy and positive for yourself every day.
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?
You can support others by doing things like:
- Teach them some of the things I suggested to ease stress and anxiety like practicing Mindfulness, and using the Release & Replace technique.
- Be there for them (if you can in person with social distancing), or offer to Facetime or Zoom and do things together like mediation or yoga, and if they do neither, you can stretch together. You can also read passages from spiritual or self-help books that are helpful and comforting.
- Suggest taking walks together if that’s possible.
- Guide them in this very simple and soothing breathing exercise, which is: inhale and silently count 12341, exhale and count 12342, inhale and count 12343, exhale and count 12344.
- Do a visualization exercise with them where they imagine themselves somewhere that gives them pleasure. It can be a place they have traveled to, or how they feel when they’re doing something that is pleasing like getting a massage, or lying in a bath filled with fragrant aromatherapy oils, candles lit, and meditative music playing.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
I would suggest reading my book, Live True, listening to my meditations (Ora Meditations), which you can access on most apps like Spotify and itunes. I also suggest getting my Live True Daily Journal, which just came out. It’s filled with beautiful quotes, useful prompts, tips, reminders, and some of my favorite meditations. There are also other good meditation apps like Insight Meditation, which I am also on. Headspace is another good app for guided meditations.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
One of my favorite quotes is: “Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and now.” Thich Nhat Hahn
I chose this quote because it is a constant reminder to be present and grateful for the moments of our lives.
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. :-)
I would start a movement of Mindfulness. If everyone practiced being fully present in every moment with non-judgment, acceptance and love of self and others, imagine how different the world would be!
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!