How to not distract yourself and practice mindfulness
Episode #26 – Interview with Jo Draper
Jo is a Holistic Empowerment Coach. She helps women reduce stress and restore balance through yoga, mindset and holistic wellness practices. She also works with them on building confidence and self-esteem and creating a life that they truly desire.
How she got started in this field
10 years ago, Jo went through a traumatic experience. At that time, she had no emotional intelligence and did not know about self-development. Instead, she spent a lot of time partying. One day she was staying at her friend’s house and in the middle of the night, she found a book called “How you can heal your life” by Louise Hay. In this moment, she couldn’t imagine who would need to heal their life, but once she started reading the book she couldn’t stop.
This moment was a game-changer for her and became the catalyst for change and growth. Since then, she went back to university and achieved a master’s degree in wellness, did group fitness training, yoga teacher training and became more interested in science. She also began to eat healthier and exercise more, the more she delved into her wellness journey, the more it became about her mindset.
When people come to her looking to lose weight, they are expecting a quick fix like a meal plan. In reality, she goes much deeper into understanding the behavior. It all comes down to the right mindset in the end.
Recently Jo had an experience when a client came to her and told her how surprised she was by the program. Jo’s work with her wasn’t what she signed up for but she was really glad she did it because she really benefitted from it. Jo focuses a lot on restoring the calm and balance and reducing stress. That was exactly what her client needed.
Why mindset is so important
Before Jo starts working with a client, she always has a coaching call where they discuss the client’s expectations as well as the way Jo will work with them. No matter why Jo’s clients approach her, whether they want to lose weight or struggle with an addiction, she always goes back to basics and tries to find the source of the behavior instead of focusing on the behavior itself.
Many of us struggle with something inside of us and we were not taught how to deal with our emotions. When these emotions rise up in our bodies, we start behaving in a certain way instead of dealing with the emotions. Some people might turn to food, some people watch excessive Netflix or start drinking but it all comes from not knowing how to process these emotions.
It’s important to Jo to identify these emotions and also what is driving them. Once we understand the thought that is driving those feelings, which is what is creating the behavior based on our emotions, we can identify the source and start to shift our behavior.
I personally know from experience that this can be a long process and that’s why it can be so useful to have a coach by your side. You might not have the motivation to go through the whole process otherwise or forget to stay on track.
A few simple changes that can help you
Jo is currently running a program called the “Rise up wellness academy” which is a 6-month program divided by months. She just finished the first month with the theme of mindfulness. Jo believes that mindfulness is the foundation for starting to know ourselves and starting to understand our thoughts.
So many people were not taught to observe their thoughts which is why she makes it the first thing they do in her program. She believes it is a vital step in creating change and a lasting transformation. One way of practicing mindfulness is through meditation but it could also be through mindful eating or just sitting down in a really present way.
We live in such a stressful environment with the hustle mentality that it is important to just sit and be present. Mindfulness is bringing awareness into things we do daily, for example, eating. So a way that we can practice mindfulness is to eat slowly and be present without any distractions such as TV or phones. Just be there in the moment, really focus on your food, chew slowly, smell the food, notice the texture, and notice how you react to it.
Another way of practicing mindfulness could be through walking. Jo recommends doing a mindful walking meditation. She loves walking on the beach but often gets distracted by thinking of what she needs to do. Instead, she makes an effort to stop and connect to the sounds of nature, the colors and smells around her. She tries to feel her steps and connect to the Earth whilst feeling the sun on her face.
By stepping into this mindfulness and awareness everything around us changes. She believes that creating this self-awareness the first step in creating lasting change. I’m also a big fan of mindfulness and love how simple it is and how it is so available to everybody. Just by taking those simple steps, it can be much easier to handle our thoughts instead of diving straight into meditation. Many people make the mistake and believe that meditation is about sitting down and thinking about nothing, which is why so many people fail and give up.
How to know if you’re distracting yourself
It’s common that people handle stress in a way that they are distracting themselves with work or watching Netflix. But the biggest distraction for people is actually food. So many people are suffering from anxiety these days and don’t know how to deal with it, so they reach for food. Jo also has personal experience with using overworking as a distraction and believing that she was so busy. It all comes down to a choice and looking at what you are actually running from. Jo sees this behavior of distraction a lot in her yoga classes. Many people come to her classes but don’t want to stay for the meditation in the end because they believe that they are too busy. They have to understand that they are not too busy but that they are just not comfortable in the meditation. The people that are saying that meditation is not for them are the people who need it the most because they are so uncomfortable with their thoughts. We all experience our thoughts running off but we have to put in the work and bring our mind back and connect.
Consequences of constantly distracting ourselves
People might feel fine in the moment living such stressful lifestyles, but they might not think of the long run. Jo had a personal experience with that. 3 years ago she was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer. Doctors told her that it was moving fast and she probably won’t survive more than 5 years. She was living a healthy lifestyle and people couldn’t understand how she got sick. But as healthy as she was, she also never stopped and was constantly hustling. She had a past trauma that she never processed and she grew up without ever expressing her emotions. Instead, she kept working and pushed her emotions down. She understood mindset theoretically but she couldn’t apply it to her own life. It took her a while to understand why she was working so hard without any free time. It all comes down to self-love and so many people are not loving themselves. Jo believes that if you truly love yourself, you don’t overwork yourself or stay in a job that doesn’t fulfill you.
Now, something has shifted in Jo’s mindset and she doesn’t stay in situations that don’t serve her. She left her job and an unhealthy relationship. Instead, she is now traveling and just loving her life. She has never been healthier after letting go of underlying stuff that she carried with her.
How she dealt with her diagnosis and healed herself
When she was initially diagnosed, her tumor was growing really fast. It was a hard diagnosis and she decided that she wanted to do everything she could, including the surgery. For anyone in a similar situation, she recommends educating yourself and making empowered decisions. She did that and didn’t feel like she was forced into a path that wasn’t right for her. She understood her options and also changed her diet and her mindset. Jo believes that being your true authentic self is the best thing we can do for ourselves and that it helped her in her healing process.
Another transformative thing for Jo during that time was practicing gratitude. She remembers being in the hospital and receiving bad news, but she was still able to change her mindset and remind herself what she was grateful for. Another powerful tool that she used in the hospital is visualization. She visualized herself being happy and healthy, being on the beach and surfing. This was an important part of her healing journey.
3 final questions
Favorite book or podcast:
– Louse Hay’s “You can heal your life” was a game-changer for her. She also likes Joe Dispenza’s work and how he connects scientific research about the brain with mindfulness. She also recommends Jay Shetty, Dr. John Demartini and Preston Smiles.
Quote Jo is living by or feels inspired by:
– “Self-love is the key to transformation.” Jo thinks that everything around you changes when you truly start to love yourself.
Magic wand with a gift to people:
– She wants people to know that they are enough and that they are worthy. If people would know that, it would end a lot of problems for people. She is so passionate about her work because our generation was raised to not love ourselves. We are influenced by corporations that make a profit by telling people they are not good enough. The younger we can teach self-worth, the better it would be.
Link to Jo’s website
Links to Jo’s social media
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