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Get to Know the MindWell Team: Meet Amanda

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

The MindWell team is made up of people dedicated to making mindfulness more accessible and applicable to you and your organizations. Learn from one of our team members what her favourite lesson on the MindWell Challenge is and how mindfulness has helped her cope with the new realities COVID-19 has created.

Meet Amanda Portinari, MindWell’s Director of Marketing & Customer Success.

What is your favourite part of the MindWell Challenge?

"Hands down without a doubt, Day 20, Hardwiring Happiness!"

Amanda loves knowing that, even though our brains are wired to notice the negative more than the positive, we can begin to create new paths in our brains if we practice. “Seeing my brain as a bunch of pathways, many of which (hint, the negative ones) are super worn in because I constantly “walk” down them. Knowing that I could choose to take a new path was definitely an “Aha!” moment for me,” said Amanda.

Now, when she catches herself feeling happy or joyful, even if it’s simply feeling free while riding her bike down a city street, she reminds herself to linger in that moment.

“I actually picture myself taking a new pathway in a forest and that pathway becoming more and more defined, each time I walk down it, so hopefully next time I reach a fork in the road, the choice is more obvious.”

How mindfulness has helped her cope throughout the pandemic?

“I can’t lie. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, I was consumed by the fact that the world had changed so drastically and so fast. I was definitely guilty of “doomscrolling” late into the night and compulsively checking case numbers, acting completely on autopilot,” said Amanda.

With the help of her mindfulness practice she was able to look at her feelings of fear and anxiety with less judgement and resistance.

“Years ago, I learned to think of my feelings as a beach ball underwater. I picture myself frantically trying to keep the ball down while keeping my head above water and that image reminds me to stop and breathe. It takes a lot of effort to keep the ball underwater. If I stop fighting and judging those feelings, they eventually pop up and out,” states Amanda.

This excellent analogy to resisting her feelings is what reminded Amanda that it’s actually the resisting that causes suffering, not the actual feelings themselves.

“Once I stop desperately trying to control my feelings, I can step back and make sure I’m not just instantly reacting on autopilot or out of fear, but rather responding to what is actually happening. It’s a work in progress, so you might still find me occasionally lost in the depths of the internet at midnight. That's why it’s called a mindfulness practice, right?”

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