Mindfulness Diploma Course

mindfulnessAs some of you might know, in recent years I’ve started to look differently at things. “Things” is a very general turn of phrase, however, the only suitable other word would be “everything”. I’ve always been a keen advocate for self-development and seeing as I have been self-studying Buddhism, mindfulness and meditation, taking on a mindfulness diploma seemed like a great idea, especially when New Skills Academy got in touch and asked if I would like to take one of their courses (for free) and review the process.

I am currently working on a mindfulness diploma course. I’ll be honest, by now I thought I might be further along in the course (I’m a speed reader with keen research skills) however, the course content is so much more detailed than I expected, and I’m glad of it.

I am six modules into this nine-module course. Once I’ve finished I will receive a certified and recognised certificate, with this particular course being verified and supported by the Complementary Medical Association (CMA) and the IOA. I couldn’t use this course, for example, to earn credits/points towards higher level study however it is a fantastic way to build my knowledge, develop myself and to springboard into a new career/speciality if I wish.

I’ve looked at online courses before. Some are brilliant, some are basic, for want of a better word. This particular course has really worked the grey matter. Not only are the course materials (all online) brilliantly written, there are links to further information that may be of interest and more. The mechanics of the course are simple, with the online portal being very easy to use. You may log on and off as and when you need to, take notes on-screen as you go (I prefer a notebook and have been scribbling away) and there are a number of ways to access support. Having undertaken a number of distance learning courses and qualifications in the past, I’ve always come away more knowledgeable than I was to start with and have been able to use the course matter in my work (I’m a freelance copywriter) and personally. With this course, I’m taking away so much more.

I’ve been privately studying mindfulness for some time, am working on my own mindfulness and use meditation daily (I’m getting better at it with practice). Six modules in and I’ve a thirst for more and am sure that once I’ve completed this course, and hopefully passed it, that I will be ready to learn more (once I’ve “unpacked” all that I’ve learned so far).

New Skills Academy are new to me and I will be honest, when I hit the first page of my dashboard I thought “Oh my days, this looks really basic”, and I was partially right. The simplicity of the site and the navigation is very user-friendly, which makes getting on with the task at hand very easy. The course materials are equally user-friendly but anything but lacklustre.

Would I do another New Skills Academy course after this one? If the right course was available, based on how much I have enjoyed this course, how highly I rate the content and how easy it has been to navigate, yes, I would.

Once you grow up and leave full-time education, often the onus to continue your learning falls solely on you. What I love about online courses such as these is that you have complete control over what you learn, when you learn, how you learn and what you’ll use that learning for. For me, this course is less about professional development, although, between this and my own experience, I am well qualified to write about mindfulness as part of my professional work, and more about expanding my own knowledge and understanding of mindfulness. The aim for me of this particular course is to broaden my mind, to learn and to put that learning to good use. Many use mindfulness to help with anxiety, stress or other issues and it can work well as a standalone tool or together with additional aid from somewhere such as BetterHelp.com.

Have a look at the course available. Is there something that you like the look of?

mindfulness, Nicki Cawood

Kindness Changes Lives and So Can You

I think, “Kindness changes lives” could become my new mantra. We all live busy lives. We have so much going on. There’s work, bills, health, the house, school, extra-curricular activities and a whole host of other responsibilities and things to keep us busy. Sometimes though it is important to pause, take a step back and really concentrate on what’s going on around you. It’s when we stop that we realise that we have the power to help others and ourselves, simply by sharing a little kindness.

As before, we’re all very busy people, that’s just the type of world we live in these days. We have so many digital tools and tricks to streamline what we do and save time and yet we seem to have less free time than ever. Has anyone else noticed that? I certainly have and it’s something that doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve been looking at mindfulness recently (I’m even taking a mindfulness diploma course) as well as some of the philosophy behind Buddhism and do you know what? I think I’ve been missing out. In the race to the end of the to-do list, the sprint towards a deadline, the fierce week-time home/family/work juggle I’ve lost some of the things that make me happy. One of these things is making other people happy.

KindnessI like to be happy, and I’m pretty sure others do too. Sometimes, however, happiness needs a little shove and I find that kindness is a great way to make someone smile, even if it simply makes someone feel better for a just little while. You see, while I have a lot going on, I have an enormous amount to be grateful and thankful for, and yet there are many out there, both home and abroad who don’t have the same light in their life. I’m working on myself to become more mindful in order to see and appreciate the light around me, while other live in grey and dark and really could use a helping hand.

For me, kindness is a selfless act that benefits someone else. It’s not about posting on Facebook that you’ve helped a charity out (unless of course, like I am today, you are trying to raise awareness). It’s not about making you feel good (although it’s a nice side-effect), it’s about taking a moment to consider others, to make a change and to take action in a positive way that will raise someone up somehow.

Kindness is everywhere, we just don’t see it all the time. There are a great many people doing kind things every day. I have decided to do the same. I’ve considered volunteering, however, don’t have the time so every day for the next month I am going to take time to do something that could be considered a kindness to someone else. They say it takes 28 days to create or learn a new habit so perhaps (hopefully), a kindness a day may be something I do every day moving on.

I will be donating to charity.
I might help someone with a task they are struggling with.
I will take time to ask someone how they are and really listen.
I will campaign for change.
I will smile at the embarrassed parent in the supermarket whose toddler is having a meltdown and say, “We’ve all been there, I promise, it does get better”.
I will support a local small business, even if it might seem easier to buy online.

I already consider myself to be a kind person. I already help people I see in need, however, kindness is an ever-filling bucket, it doesn’t run dry and anyone may dip into it whenever they like. I feel I could dip more often, and so I will. Will you?

This infographic from Oxfam offers a brilliant and visual way to recognise some people that really might benefit from a little kindness, and how.

Random Acts of Kindness