Meet, Farzin Shaykhi
Farzin Shaykhi is a registered psychologist who is bilingual and can speak Farsi/Persian and English. He finished his undergraduate Degree in Psychology and Master of Clinical Psychology in Australia.
Mindfulness, Emotion-Focused Therapy
Mindfulness trains your mind to be strong so you can lead a healthy way of being. Neuro-scientific research shows that people who practice mindfulness regularly are more focused, relaxed, productive, calm and happier as they feel empowered in their life and how they react to daily demands.
When we are anxious, stressed, depressed or suffering from chronic illness or pain, we usually act through habit and learned ways of coping which might not actually be helpful and could exacerbate the issue. We may distract ourselves (by drinking too much, procrastinating or overeating) or we may be thinking continuously of ways to resolve the problem. We may criticise ourselves in a manner that is unkind and harsh. This can leave us feeling debilitated and exhausted, with our self-esteem and confidence spiralling downwards.
By paying attention to our breathing, thoughts, feelings and body, we become mindful and are able to sit completely with our experience. This can make us aware of when we are being judgmental, engaging in automatic negative thinking or entertaining our inner critic. We develop the skills and wisdom to deal with our difficulties more effectively, in a way that is compassionate and kind. Letting go of resistance and accepting what we cannot change liberates us to feel truly alive, rather than surviving life on auto pilot.
Although mindfulness doesn’t eliminate difficulties or stress, it helps us to have more choice in how we handle challenges in the moment which gives us a better chance of reacting empathetically and calmly. This is because we are more aware of and accepting of our unpleasant thoughts and emotions. Therefore, the practice of mindfulness does not mean we will not experience strong emotions (such as anger) – rather it allows us to be aware of our feeling and more thoughtful in how we respond, whether that’s empathetically and calmly or with a measured direct expression of the sensations and emotions we are feeling.
We learn mindfulness through meditation. At first, this helps familiarise us with being in the present for a limited period of time. However, we can practice mindfulness informally through many activities that help us be present in the moment and unhook from our inner narrative, drawing awareness to our emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. Over time, practicing mindfulness regularly develops our ability to be present all the time and enables us to truly embrace the full range of life’s experiences.
Mindfulness is not about changing anything; it is about becoming fully present with our experiences, which oddly enough makes life more enjoyable. It enables us to have better relationships with others and we develop a more intimate relationship with ourselves, which makes us more productive and happy. It has been proven that mindfulness promotes emotional well-being. Neuroscientists have found that mindfulness can change the circuitry and inner workings of the brain. Due to the rising awareness of the benefits, schools and organisations are increasingly using mindfulness to enable people to function more effectively.
You are not alone if you are feeling misunderstood. One in four Australians experience regular feelings of loneliness and isolation, with misunderstandings being common in every household. Even though we live in an era of connectivity globally, evidence suggests that we are profoundly lacking in our communication skills. It is important to know that you don’t need to be alone to feel lonely. The pain felt when in the company of loved ones or in a social group, while feeling tremendously disconnected because of ongoing misunderstandings, can be deeply debilitating.
Communication cannot be easily avoided. A large portion of our waking hours is spent interacting with others – we send texts, email, talk over breakfast, on the phone, we chat on the internet, apply for a job, ignore our neighbours, order a coffee, argue with siblings or ask for a pay rise, the list goes on and on. We also communicate through gestures. You might slam your fist on the table, shout, lower your voice, point accusingly, wink or raise an eyebrow – these are all forms of communication. Our presentation also sends messages; piercing your nose or wearing a suit offers people information about you. Communication is such a common part of daily life, yet understanding others and being understood is way more complicated than we think. So then, what can we do to be understood?
Firstly, it’s important to know that communication and talking is not the same thing. Talking comprises only a small part of communication. Communication, in its simplest form, is sending a message and having others understand your intended meaning. In addition to written or spoken words, our nonverbal messages and behaviour also sends information out to the world, such as:
The volume and tone of your voice
The way you look
Your body language
The time of day
The social environment and place
The chosen mode of communication
Other parts of ‘the message’ which might include: gender, culture, your job, role or the way you are dressed.
Are we talking or communicating?
Are we hearing or listening?
- Talking and communication are not the same thing
- meanings are not in words spoken, they are in people
- effective listeners hear meaning – others simply hear words
- we need to be willing to get out of our own way to genuinely listen to another person