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Achieving wellness and equanimity

Slide Wellness is not equal to
the absence of illness.
Before we introduce you to chapter three of the Pencil programme, please do indulge us whilst we tell you a little story about multitasking. The thing is, it's a myth. Yes, the well worn debates over whether men can do it and whether women are better at it than men are futile. When we do more than one thing at a time, our brains don't span their attention across each task, they rapidly switch focus from one task to another (smart phones, emails, texts, anyone?). As they do so, our attention to each task diminishes and regaining full concentration upon one thing can take up to several minutes. It's called the refractory period.

Modern life puts many demands upon us, often simultaneously. But what effect is it having upon us? How well are we equipped to deal with them? As it turns out, pretty badly. Our neuroscience studies at Harvard have taught us that our lifestyles are not only creating a breeding ground for everything from anxiety and depression, to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and alzheimer's, but they are killing us. Stressful lifestyles are afflicting our bodies with chronic levels of inflammation and this shortens our lives.

It seems terribly inappropriate to leave you with this rather sad tale, so now for the good news. Even if you're currently hurtling towards one of the aforementioned afflictions or a life cut short by stress, you can do something about it. During chapter three of the Pencil programme, not only will we give you the tools to regularly measure your body's resilience to stress, we will teach you how to reverse its effects. In your goodybag to take home with you, we'll give you the equipment you need to continue this measurement at home, so that you can monitor your resilience to stress and watch it improve over time, as you practice what you've learned during our programme.

We find that chapter three becomes a real game changer for our guests. As a society, we're poorly equipped to deal with the stresses that modern life serves up to us and no wonder. Nobody has ever taught us how. Life has become too busy and at no point have we stopped to change our approach. Instead, we simply speed up, in an attempt to catch up. But what are we catching up to?

It's at this point where we'll gently introduce you to two areas of neuroscience; Affective Neuroscience and Contemplative Neuroscience. Don't be intimidated by the long words, we'll make it fascinating and fun. In a nutshell, we'll teach you how the mind and the body are connected, a connection that Western medicine has ignored since the 17th Century, when Descartes famously quoted, "I think, therefore I am". We'll then teach you how to utilise this connection, so that you can take control of your wellbeing.

We'll teach you the science behind mindfulness, so that you know what benefits to expect from practicing different types of meditation. Meditation is a term often used as a catch all, but meditation is like sport; there are many different kinds. Different people want different things from practicing mindfulness, so, using our knowledge of the science of mindfulness, we'll show you what you can expect from the different kinds of meditation, as well as how often you should practice to achieve your wellness goals.

Whilst our training hugely benefits people's personal lives, we work with companies too, to help their employees to reduce their stress levels, improve their productivity, make better decisions and improve their leadership skills. Our techniques are practised at companies such as Google, where they regularly see a 36% reduction in stress levels after just a short period of time. So you can expect to see benefits in your work life as well as your home life. If you attend our programme, you'll find out how it feels to live differently, to live fully and fully live. It’s at the point where mindfulness, neuroscience and psychology collide, to bring life into beautiful, sharp focus. Once you’re there, you'll have a sense of peace and equanimity. We call it a deep lightness.

That's a brief summary of chapter three of the Pencil programme. If it sounds like something that you'd benefit from, please do contact us. If you'd like to learn more about the Pencil programme, be sure to check out Chapter One and Chapter Two, as well as our guides to Introducing Pencil, Who is it for and details of Our Retreat. You can also read a summary of our programme content, or read our FAQs.

WELLNESS "Our guests learn how to reduce their stress, improve their wellbeing and boost their immune system." Matt Janes - Pencil coach

Slide Pencil Rewrite your story with Pencil. Built upon the three pillars of purpose, wellbeing and community, the Pencil programme is delivered over the course of four days at a luxurious location in the English countryside.

Pencil's unique content was developed over a two year period and lives at the point where mindfulness, neuroscience and psychology collide, to bring life into beautiful, sharp focus. Once you’re there, you'll have a sense of peace and equanimity. We call it a deep lightness.
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