We’re shaking things up on this episode of Break the Bias by exploring issues surrounding mental health, managing anxiety, motherhood and conscious communication. Consciously Unbiased co-founder Bindu Lokre sat down in a studio in New York with Sandrine Marlier, a meditation teacher, Reiki master practitioner, model and author of the new children’s book “Odette’s Alphabet,” a story about handling big emotions. Bindu and Sandrine keep it real by diving into Sandrine’s journey of the tools she uses to manage her anxiety and how to identify your triggers and create healthy boundaries. Their conversation also covers how Sandrine’s daughter inspired her to write a book about mindfulness for children, and the biggest lessons adults can also take away from the story.
Listen to the full episode here, and read below for some key takeaways.
Practice Conscious Communication: Name It To Tame It
Sandrine’s mediation practice helped her improve mindfulness, such as being more aware of how she is feeling and what her triggers are. Whenever you are triggered, Sandrine advises to name what you’re observing in a neutral way rather than reacting in anger so the other person doesn’t feel attacked and, therefore, defensive.
She practices what is called “non-violent communication” techniques, which reflects back what a person just said and gives them an opportunity to reframe what they said in case they didn’t mean it to be taken the way you interpreted it. “It’s a four-step approach of first observation to name and neutralize what you’re witnessing, next to share how you feel about your observation, third to state what you need, and finally make a request for change if it’s possible.”
Know Your Values And Stand Your Ground
Sandrine describes the countless times as a model when she was told to “just smile,” despite her discomfort with hearing offensive comments. “It’s like the old cliche that I’m dumb because I’m a model,” says Sandrine. “Inside I would tell myself to just take a deep breath and smile. Then there have been times where I did not smile through it, and I stood up and I actually got fired from a job.”
Sandrine says once you get clear on your personal values, then you’ll be better able to stand up for yourself and walk away from jobs or people who aren’t reflecting those values. “You have to honor yourself,” says Sandrine. “This is something that I’ve worked on that I did not know before. When I meditate, sometimes I’m honoring gods and sometimes I’m honoring nature, but mostly I’m honoring myself. That is into everything and everything is into me. So if I’m honoring myself, there’s no way I’m gonna stay silent.”
Vulnerability Is A Strength: The Power Of Sharing Your Story
Stories create empathy, and empathy motivates people to create positive change. It’s through sharing our stories that we can better connect with other people. Sharing our stories with others who we feel psychologically safe can be a catalyst for personal growth.
“The key word is vulnerability,” says Sandrine. “What will open us up is finding the common heart, the common beat that we all have. When we share a story, we can all relate to it. That’s why in my children’s book, “Odette’s Alphabet,” the message is that we all have these primal emotions, and you are either in love or in fear. So if you are able to tell your story, there is strength in naming it. That makes vulnerability a strength, because until you can own it, it will control you and you won’t be able to share it in a way that will necessarily get you to the connection that you’re looking for.”
KEEP READING: Career Coaches On How To Articulate Your Value
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