It took me a while to become aware that instinctively I choose group activity over individual when given the choice of one on one tutor or a group workshop. Such as when taking on a new language course, creative writing or a spiritual technique called theta healing.
Do not get me wrong, it is highly recommended that we individually adopt healthy habits of yoga, or affirmations in our daily schedule. The more we practice on our own and make it a part of our daily routine, the better. I for one try hard to do so but sometimes there are not enough hours to fit work, chores, meditation and family in one day.
To be more time savvy, studies show that group sessions (some call it group therapy, workshops or retreats) with dedicated time away from the busy life, foster learning, show better results in achieving individual goals and leave a strong positive impact on individuals.
Here are a few illustrated reasons why is that so:
1. Feeling Supported By Others Who Share A Common Concern Or Goal
Be it a boot camp or a retreat – people naturally gravitate to be a part of a group. It is a good to share our goals or concerns with others. It reminds us we are not alone in our struggles and that others are out there having that same spark driving them forward.
The funniest part for me is how during those group sessions we connect with people of different age group, background and from the farthest corner of the world that shares the same issue with us.
When I attended a retreat in November in Bali, I connected with a middle-aged gentleman from Australia (not in the way you would think) the same age as my father. We shared our troubled ends of the father-daughter issues. We aired those deeply intimate issues that are hardly discussed even between the best of friends. It is remarkable how group sessions provide safe space for intimate sharing among strangers, without making it awkward or inappropriate.
2. Group Sessions help Being Encouraged
Group sessions have a trained facilitator (teacher, therapist) who uses group dynamics to draw the most out of each individual by having common assignments, but allowing each individual to express him self in front of the group.
Even though people get embarrassed of sharing intimacies in front of strangers, it is rewarding as the facilitator guides you step by step and the rest of the group resonates. On Theta Healing workshop, I attended in 2010, we were supposed to dig out our negative beliefs and volunteer to address those in front of the group.
I had to share I had unhealthy relationships because I thought I need comfort from other people. Even though it was embarrassing, it was extremely liberating to bring those beliefs to awareness and realize others in the group understand and empathize.
3. Groups Sessions give Platform for Practicing self assertiveness and Public Speaking
Since most people’s concerns impact them socially, group workshops allow the opportunity to address the social aspect of people’s concerns directly.
In my case, group sessions helped me be more assertive in my job. I practiced expressing myself in front of a group about personal matters, so all of the fears about speaking confidently before my more experienced colleagues dissolved.
4. Positive Competition
Seeing other people’s motivation boosts ours as well. “She is doing this head stand so well, I can do it too” – a thought probably crossed your mind while practicing yoga. Considering others performance in a group as points of reference, helps us define our place. The competition makes it fun and pushes us in a way we couldn’t do on our own.
5. Groups Sessions are Interesting And Fun
Workshops and retreats can be a lot of fun, as they provide a place to distress, unplug and rewind with a bunch of interesting strangers. The intimate experiences from the group sessions make us connect to each other in a deep and meaningful way, and the friendships we make there are special and long lasting. I met a few of my good friends on retreats or workshops attended.
To find types of group retreats we offer click here.