Jody Shield on Stress-Free Living
Jody Shield is an inspirational speaker, meditation guru and intuitive therapist. The go-to-healer for London’s high fliers, she’s a meditation ambassador for Lululemon Athletica and has residencies across London including at Soho House. Previously a business director in advertising, she has first-hand experience of the stress epidemic that plagues the corporate world and has dedicated her life to helping people process the past, be more present and create a life they love. We caught up with Jody to find out more about her life, her work and her secrets for stress-free living.
1. Tell us your story. What led you to this lifestyle?
After working as an advertising director for 10 years, I took some time out to go on a soul-searching mission to South America. I went on retreat with an indigenous tribe who opened my connection to life and nature. When I came back, I found my ideals had evolved and I no longer felt satisfied merely ‘coasting’ through life. I wanted to be in service, helping people release fears and illness and find a new way of living happier, stress-free and a more emotionally 'in-tune' life.
2. Stress is a big factor in almost all our lives these days. What do you think is causing this?
There are many ‘surface’ triggers that cause stress: overload of information and content; relationships; increasing workloads and multi-tasking. Added to this, behind-the-scenes there often lie unhealed emotions or painful memories from the past. When we go through negative experiences or trauma, we retain the emotions and feelings we experience in our bodies and subconscious minds. We form negative beliefs, which can end up impacting how we live our lives. All of this hidden, unprocessed information and programming hides away but can burst out when we’re stressed. Things are not slowing down any time soon - in fact, the amount of content is set to double over the next 18 months - so we need to find ways to deal with stress and change how we’re currently reacting to it.
3. How can we reduce our stress levels?
One of the most effective things we can do to reduce stress is to simply be mindful, which to me just means being present in your life. We spend most of our time worrying about the past - what happened last week, or being anxious about the future - what is going to happen. We forget all about the present moment, which is happening right now, in front of our eyes. We are creating our lives in every moment. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, it’s happening. Mindfulness is about living in the present by becoming conscious of it and taking our power back to create a life we want to live, as opposed to a life out of our control.
The easiest way to become present is to simply become aware of your breathing. Close your eyes and simply focus on your breath coming into and out of your body. Don’t try and control your breath, just let it flow naturally as it always does. This automatically brings you into the present. By focusing on the now you automatically stop worrying about the past and future.
A few minutes of mindful meditation every day can do wonders to reduce your stress. Just shut your eyes, be still and focus on your breathing. Don't worry if you can't relax your mind straight away: meditation is a practice so. like exercising the physical body, it’s something you have to keep doing. It’s working-out the muscle in the mind. If any thoughts come into your mind, just observe them and let them go and return your attention to your breathing.
There are some great apps available nowadays to help you with mindful meditation. Headspace is one of my favourites, which you can download from the app store.
4. What’s your morning routine to set you up for an energized, stress-free day?
I always set aside at least 20 minutes to meditate, otherwise I feel unbalanced for the rest of the day and life doesn't flow as it usually does. I’ll drink two pints of warm water and lemon to flush out the kidneys from the day before, and I also take some time to say some positive affirmations, which sets the tone for the rest of the day.
5. Beyond meditation, what else do you do to bring positive energy to your life?
I love working out and high energy dance classes, and combine this with kettle bells and weights. I also enjoy yoga - it’s a great test of strength of mind and body because you have to be okay with the level you’re at, even when you have amazing yogis all around you effortlessly moving into different postures and you’re like a baby elephant throwing yourself around! I also love going to Morning Gloryville, the sober early morning rave, it’s such a fun work-out before you start the day!
6. It’s important to start your day well but what about ending it? What are your tips for finishing your day on an appreciative note?
Oh yes, a really good question! At the end of every day, I take 10 minutes to sit quietly, put my hands on my knees with the palms turned upwards to the sky and imagine that I am receiving back all the energy I have given out that day. I imagine recharging myself with energy just like my hands are solar panels and it really works!! I also say a few things that I am grateful for that day - especially the challenges I am facing and things I am frustrated about as it helps to open up the energy around them.
Jody runs a monthly 2 hour healing session at Second Home the co-creative working space in London. It's a chance to have an emotional detox and clear out any old baggage you are holding onto. For more information, visit her website.