I’m honestly very proud of myself as I’m presenting today this interview with the psychotherapist Jodi Baretz. She’s one of many emerging women working hard to introduce people to a simple, yet powerful way of improving life quality, which is mindfulness. She’s also a Holistic Health coach who believes strongly in the integral approach of healing that works on body/mind/spirit, and she believes that mindfulness is one of the best ways to do it.
I believe your brand name, Mindful is the New Skinny, is so inspiring and symbolizes the recent paradigm shift about health and overall wellbeing.
Thank you! I believe we have to nourish the inside in order to flourish on the outside. As women, we need to feel that we are good enough and not focus so much on fitting into expectations the media and culture place on us.
Can you tell us about your personal and career journey?
I always liked helping people and that’s why I became a social worker. But it was when I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease, my life and career took a turn. From the life changing nature of the diagnosis, I was forced to “mindfully” eat everything that went in my mouth. From there I went to Nutrition school to become a health coach to teach others how to eat healthy. My journey into mindfulness began as well at that time, and I treat clients from a holistic perspective, mind, body and spirit.
Do you think the mindfulness can cure all the physical and psychological problems the woman faces nowadays?
No. I don’t believe there is a cure all for any ailment or issue, but I will say there are a host of benefits that can improve quality of life, emotionally and physically. Let’s say improve, not cure.
Can we say there is really secular approach of meditation? It can fit people from all religions and backgrounds?
Absolutely! Meditation does not have to be spiritual, although it can be. It is not religious, it is a particular way of looking at the world and your challenges, that lead to less stress and more joy. Meditation can be viewed simply as an exercise to train the mind to become calmer and more mindful, similar to going to the gym for your body.
What is the biggest problem you face with clients new to mindfulness?
Many people still stereotype mindfulness and meditation as new age and hippy dippy. However, as it becomes more mainstream, this is becoming less of a challenge. Others say they can’t meditate or be mindful, because their mind is all over the place and can’t block out thoughts. Well, everyone’s mind is like that, which is why we need it. Additionally, it is not a blocking out thoughts, but learning how to work with or relate to the thoughts and let them go!
What do you think of the retrain your brain programs, based on neuroscientific findings, which claim to change your behavior through some exercises affecting the brain circuits. Can that be a shortcut to the mindfulness practice?
I’m not so familiar with that, but I will say that our brains have neuroplasticity, which mean we can absolutely rewire our brains through exercises such as meditation and mindfulness. There have been FMRI’s done after meditating for as little as 10 minutes a day that change gray matter in the brain. I’m sure there are other exercises that can work as well.
Do you think that positive thinking can really reverse the negative effects of unhealthy food and products(beauty, cleaning,..) we use?
I believe in a holistic approach so all aspects of health are important, such as what we put in, on and around our bodies. There are so many toxins in food, beauty products and the environment that reducing the toxic load as much as possible is a key to good health. However, how we think and use our brains contribute to stress and the release of Cortisol and other hormones. This can lead to a host of problems and disease in the body as well, even holding on to belly fat. There is also a strong mind body connection, and the mind is so powerful that I wouldn’t be surprised if it could reduce some of the negative effects of the environment.
Can mindfulness help me lose weight?
I get this question often because of my branding “mindful is the new skinny”. I want people to focus on being healthy, feeling good and getting in touch with their hunger cues and their bodies, which in turns helps you lose weight. Mindful eating means eating with intention instead of mindlessly eating a bag of chips in front of the TV. Since I don’t believe that deprivational diets work, it’s OK if you eat your favorite dessert once in awhile. As long as you taste every bite and enjoy it with no guilt!
What exactly is mindfulness, and can you give us a quick tip for those who want to get started.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This means focusing on what you are doing when your doing it, and not having your mind wander off to the past or future. So when you’re in the shower focus on the water temperature, the feeling and smell of the soap etc., and not worry about all the things you have to do that day. Just have your mind be in the shower. This is difficult, but will help ground you for the day. How many times have you been in the shower and forgot if you washed your hair already?
Mindfulness is not a cure all, but it as helped me tremendously in my life and in the lives of my clients. It gives you a perspective you don’t typically get when you are caught up in your thoughts. If you realize that your thoughts are just thoughts, you don’t have to believe them or give them so much power. Distancing yourself from the craziness in your head is key to more joy, peace and fulfillment!
Thank you too!
Now if you feel you want jump into this exciting experience don’t hesitate to contact Jodi.You can sign up on her website for “The Skinny on Mindfulness” and download a free 10 minute meditation, to give it a try!
If you already practice mindfulness share with us your experience so as you inspire and help the many women wondering if really they should.