“I envision a day when mental exercise will be as much a part of our lives as physical exercise and personal hygiene.” This quote from Richard Davidson, the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pretty well captures my feelings on the matter. It has always been hard for me to understand why we treat mental health issues differently than we treat physical health issues, which underlies part of the reason why I do what I do. I want to normalize as much as possible efforts toward better mental health.
If you’ve worked with me, you’ve probably heard me say that mindfulness training is brain training – literally like exercise for your brain. Most of us have never been taught how to exercise our brains, but with a mindfulness practice you can begin to train your brain. Kind of like physical exercise, changes don’t happen overnight but are gradual over time and with practice. I liken it to cutting a path through a dark forest, with each day’s cutting creating a smoother and wider path. In times of mental distress, if you have been working to cut a path through the dark forest with mindfulness practice, the smoother and wider path will be easier to find.
Try adding this simple breath practice as mental exercise to your daily routine: the 4-7-8 breathing practice. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 8. Repeat as many times as you would like, but at least 4 times. It may just make your path through the holidays that much smoother!
Happy Holidays, my friends!
We’ve had great feedback about your program.
For example, an employee had a scary medical emergency recently. As she was about to go into an MRI machine to see if she was having a stroke, frantic with worry and claustrophobic, she said she thought of your sessions and began one of the breathing exercises you taught. She told our HR director that practicing the mindfulness techniques you taught saved her sanity and helped her remain calm during a multi-day hospitalization and medical crisis.
In addition to the in-person and Zoom attendees, I’m aware of a number of people who watch the recordings afterward and review your materials. Altogether, I think we had 30-50 people engaged in at least one or more of the sessions. I consider this to be a big success, as it is always a struggle to get people engaged in workplace wellness programs. Sometimes, even the offer of a free lunch won’t get people to show up! The fact that so many continued to attend and watch the videos after the first session is a testament to your good work.
Although I still need to catch up by watching the last couple of videos, I’ve personally used what I learned in the first couple of sessions on several occasions. Specifically, when my brain gets onto the hamster wheel of the “story of me” (which is usually negative and generally during my commute or while trying to fall asleep at night), I tell myself to close the book and focus on what’s around me – what I see, hear, smell, and feel. It has been especially helpful to short-circuit the Sunday scaries, which I get pretty much every Sunday night.
Your work changes lives!
I have known Kerrie for over 10 years. I have admired her gentle wisdom and ability to be totally present. Her personal practice of mindfulness has shaped her life and helped her ability to gracefully navigate life's challenges. I am thrilled she has chosen to share these gifts to a broader circle of people. As a retired psychiatric nurse and fellow mindfulness practitioner, I wholeheartedly recommend the services of Kerrie Lauck and KLauckwork as a resource for personal growth!
Kerrie has such an incredible way about her: a soft but firm confidence and the best voice I’ve ever heard. Our team enjoyed the sessions very much and want to do it again next year.
My teenage son and I have participated in several mindfulness exercises with Kerrie, and I have worked with her one on one. We always looked forward to her guidance and left feeling light, grounded, and recharged. She has a true gift; her calm presence, soothing voice, and warm soul make the practice of centering effortless. We can't recommend her enough!
Just watched the recording of your session and wanted to say how good you are at this! You’re clearly in your zone and I love that you decided to follow your heart and your calling. I can only imagine how daunting taking that step must have been. I’m so proud of you and what you’re doing—it’s invaluable, as are you!
After knowing Kerrie for a decade, I am so glad to see her giving herself full time to an endeavor that makes use of her considerable empathy. I often relate within our community how intensely and completely Kerrie enters into each conversation, absorbing the needs and perspective of the speaker with startling focus. I can't imagine a better qualified person for this profession and will happily refer my own community to her for guidance on the journey toward mindfulness!
Do you know what I do when something major happens and I want to lash out? I ask myself: what would Kerrie do?
It feels so good to be working with you. You are so soothing – even just the way you breathe makes me feel better.
The manager I sent to work with you for stress told me that this is the best thing I’ve ever done for her!
I’ve been in therapy for years, but I got more out of Kerrie’s mindfulness-based self-compassion program in 2 months than I did in all those years. Since I’ve done the program, I just have loved these last few weeks because my insides feel better. I’m learning to stop and ask myself what I need.
Bringing Kerrie in to provide a mindfulness training was such a meaningful investment into our People. At Southwest, we prioritize caring for our Employees, and providing practical ways for them to also do so for themselves. The first time I went through a session with Kerrie outside of my department, I knew it was something we needed to bring to my direct group of Co-hearts. The airline industry can be stressful and overwhelming, even in the best of times. This pandemic has wreaked havoc on our world and definitely our industry, so the opportunity to give our People a chance to take a break and learn to focus on themselves in a fruitful way could not have been more timely. Kerrie is extremely relatable both on and off the stage, making her the ideal facilitator for mindfulness practice. I cannot recommend her enough, and count her a true friend!
Mindfulness training with Kerrie has been a revelation to me. I had taken a course in the past but never achieved the understanding of and ability to practice mindfulness as I have with Kerrie. Her exercises and practice recordings have given me a readily accessible path to use anytime. Her encouragement and excitement gave me a desire to practice on my own. Mindfulness really is an investment in yourself and a solid plan for improvement in your life.
This workplace course has helped me so much in managing my response to the craziness at city hall. I was so disappointed the training was over when we got to the last session.
Last week's mindfulness session was great! I wasn't sure if I would be able to meditate virtually with a group, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Man, thank you for that session, Kerrie. I knew it would be a good use of time, but it hit home in some unexpected ways, right from the very first practice when I greeted myself. It was very, very useful and I'd love to do the full [mindfulness-based self-compassion] course.
You helped me immensely today. Had a rough go of it, but before I spiraled I found a dark quiet room and listened to your 9-minute recording on mindfulness. Thank you!
Kerrie Lauck is an absolute treasure. She carries such wisdom, expertise, kindness, and professionalism in her life and work and has blended it all together into a powerful vision that impacts individuals as well as workplace culture. Kerrie gently works to help us live more fully mindful of the present moment so we can live from a place of truth, more aware of our connectedness with others and also more aware of the connectedness between our mind and our actions. Kerrie works with diverse groups of people and has shown her capacity to engage with and empower others. She is grounded, full of joy, and one of those rare few with whom I always leave feeling like a better version of myself.
I recently completed a workplace series of sessions with Kerrie and have found so many of the things I learned to be extremely helpful in my work and just day to day life. The tips, the practices, the stories and Kerrie’s unbelievable calm and soothing nature have been a huge comfort in this crazy life. I would highly recommend that your workplace schedule time with Kerrie.