Mary Clare Bland is a Mindfulness Coach and Corporate Trainer. For over ten years she has used mindfulness techniques to help people see beyond their momentary distractions, and focus on what brings them meaning and joy. She has a particular interest in the practical value of mindfulness.
Mary Clare finds it fascinating that science has come full circle, and is using cutting edge technologies to prove the efficacy of ancient mindfulness techniques. To deepen her understanding of the science underlying traditional mindfulness techniques, she has worked closely with a prominent neuroscientist. She loves walking people through this research, presenting it to them in an easy to understand format. Her favorite workshop to lead is titled, "What is Mindfulness?" In these short sessions she explains to people why mindfulness techniques work, then introduces them to short, simple exercises to practice on their own.
According to Mary Clare, "For thousands of years, people have practiced mindfulness techniques. They are useful because they allow people to take a step back and think. This creates a little space for them to regain their balance and get in touch with their internal wisdom before engaging in an emotional reaction they might later regret. In the 21st Century, this is important now more than ever. Although technology has helped us in so many ways, it is also causing a great deal of suffering. Most people I know are so over-stimulated from screen time, and the increased productivity required to function in today's society, that they can't even sleep. They suffer from stress, anxiety and often despair. They don't have time to focus on interpersonal relationships, and many are even losing the ability to communicate effectively. What I find so meaningful is that now, when we need mindfulness techniques more than ever, modern science has provided us with actual proof that they are effective."
One of Mary Clare's favorite examples to site is a research paper from 2010 called, "Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation." This study recruited monks who had spent tens of thousand of hours meditating, and connected them to modern brain imaging devices. It shows how mindfulness meditation literally changes the structure of practitioner's brains by growing new neural pathways and creating new neurons. Practically speaking, this can help people learn quicker, or keep from getting 'stuck' on any one problem or emotional stimulus. Most interestingly, the research demonstrates that long term mindfulness practitioners produce more gamma waves in their brains even when they're not engaged in mindfulness practices. These gamma waves are associated with stress reduction, feelings of bliss, and higher levels of cognitive functioning.
"This is great news!" says Mary Clare. "Maybe not for the recruitment efforts of Buddhist Monasteries, but certainly for everyday people. If sitting for five minutes every morning with one's eyes closed can make people function better at work, sleep better, feel happier, and keep from losing patience and shouting at their loved ones, who wouldn't want to meditate? Perhaps science and technology have made many of us miserable in the short-term, but it has also provided us with a way to counteract the damage it is causing to our sense of well-being. I find that immensely comforting."
To learn more about the modern neuroscience underlying mindfulness techniques, you can visit her website: http://www.softskillssuccesscoaching.com/the-science-of-mindfulness.html, where she has posted some of her research. She always welcomes the opportunity to walk people through mindfulness concepts, or explain how the research can be used to solve practical problems.
Mary Clare is available for workshops, corporate training sessions and personal consultations. She also leads retreats. Her dynamic, engaging style makes her a natural for presenting trainings both to large audiences and in one-on-one sessions. Her background and expertise enable her to be particularly helpful in supporting executives in their leadership journeys, coaching entrepreneurs, helping people empower themselves and others, and coaching those that wish to manifest meaningful change in their lives. Her full bio and contact information can be found at http://www.softskillssuccesscoaching.com/about.html.