Doing the Hoffman process last year changed my life..

Almost a year ago today I did the Hoffman Process and it completely changed my life, leading me to start Happy Heads and dedicate my life to helping others. I'm very proud to be featured in their newsletter talking about my journey, mental fitness and emotional resilience.

Understanding how the absence of a parent can still affect you as an adult is a common ‘a-ha!’ moment for many people who come on the Process. It’s easy to imagine that your mother or father have little influence if they weren’t there when you were young, but actually that void can set up all sorts of issues around how we relate to ourselves and others. Here, businesswoman Kim Murray shares her experience of dealing with her father’s suicide when she was only seven and explains how the Process became a bridge into a whole new career helping others through mindfulness and meditation.

Mental Fitness – Emotional Resilience

Having pursued a career in Marketing & Events for over 11 years, I was accustomed to a high-pressure job. But in early 2016, a hugely stressful situation left me signed off work suffering from two things I’d never experienced before: anxiety and depression. This sharp decline was both out of character and completely debilitating.

In my search for solutions to how I was feeling, I saw the incredible results that Hoffman had brought for several close friends, so I decided to take the plunge and sign up.

The week-long retreat course put me back on track. It allowed me to unpack painful childhood baggage so that I no longer walked around with such a weight on my shoulders. It truly was a life-changing experience which helped me get over my anxiety and recover from depression.

When I was just 7 years old, my father very sadly took his own life. I was never really able to fully experience and integrate the emotions that I had at the time and I didn’t have the tools to do so whilst growing up. It was only during the course that I realised how much anger I’d locked inside me as a result. Processing that emotion and the death of my dad had an incredible effect on both my mental and physical well-being – incredibly curing the digestive problems I’d suffered from my whole life. It just shows the connection between a happy head and happy body.

Digesting Death

I discovered that a parent who’s physically or emotionally absent, or who’s passed away when you’re young, can continue to impact you through to adulthood in ways that you’re completely unaware of. Suicide is unique because they ‘choose’ to leave. As a child it’s incredibly difficult to think otherwise. Your brain itself is still developing so you need to be given the space to process such a huge traumatic experience.

During the Process I was finally able to completely forgive my Dad for ‘abandoning’ me. I could understand how he felt and re-connect with him in ways I never thought possible. Having lived a happy life myself until the age of 32, only to be suddenly ambushed by my own mental health issues, I can now better understand that suicide is incredibly complex, in the sense that the person doesn’t feel like they have any choice.

As I went through the course and experienced its many tools, the ones I found most insightful were the guided visualisations. Once home I also began to explore meditation and became more and more excited by the power of this ancient practice.

A Change of Career

The whole experience was so profound that, a few months later, I decided to quit my job, change career and retrain. I qualified as a meditation teacher and trained in Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as ‘tapping’) so that I could teach busy people how to stop, think and breathe. I wanted to help people avoid or escape the kind of stress-related situation I’d experienced and, because I’d found dealing with my childhood trauma so key, I wanted to offer meditation to children too. Within the space of a few months I launched Happy Heads, which does exactly that.

Every child is unique and, as a parent, we can’t stop ‘the world’ from happening around them. Over-exposure to technology and the modern pace of life is creating a society that has been dubbed ‘generation stress’. Add social pressure, stress at school, a traumatic event such as the loss of a parent or simply never being able to switch off and you can see why it’s never been so important to look after both our own and, most importantly our children’s, mental health.

My journey to the Hoffman Process ultimately began during my formative years, but only came to the surface in adulthood through stress in the workplace, which is why I want to help others avoid the same path. Your core beliefs develop in your formative years but they don’t have to be a negative blueprint that controls you.

Happy Heads

My goal with Happy Heads is to empower people with simple mindful tools and techniques that build confidence, reduce anxiety and increase focus at work and in everyday life. I launched in April 2017 and have been working with a range of people from all walks of life whose feedback has made me proud to take this path. From sessions with the celebrated writer Benjamin Brooks Dutton and his son Jackson, to teaching classes with companies Hey Holla and Moo, I’m taking positive steps to fulfil my mission of making every head a Happy Head

Interested in reading further? Kim’s recommended reading list for using mindfulness with children and how to deal with bereavement as a parent.

The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J Siegel is a book that offers children age-appropriate explanations and illustrations of how the brain works with strategies to help them to integrate their intellect and emotions.

Calm Kids: Help Children Relax with Mindful Activities by Lorraine Murray is designed to help children relax with mindful activities. Perfect for beginners and shows you how to create your own meditations.

It’s Not Raining, Daddy, It’s Happy by Benjamin Brooks-Dutton is a helpful and affirming true story about dealing with grief, sudden bereavement and life as a widower and a father




The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are broad and can help people with all kinds of personal challenges in life.

Losing a parent when you're young is like having your whole life sped up right in front of you. All the years of making memories you thought you had, suddenly disappear.

Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realise they’re actually gone, especially when you're so young.

I was only 7 years old when my dad passed away and the moment you find out is like something out of a film. You can’t quite comprehend what you're being told and trying to make any sense of the finality is impossible. They’re not coming back?

I attempted to process the situation in a completely matter of fact way and remember saying to my Mum “everyone’s Dad’s got to die, right?” Yes, she answered “Ok, so my Dad just died early then?” It’s a bizarrely logical way of thinking about it but it was the only way I could make any attempt to process what had just happened.

I could see how upset everyone was around me and didn’t want to make it worse, so I made it my mission to be ‘fine’ with it and tried to be as ‘perfect’ as I could so no-one else would leave.

As a child, your brain is still developing and you don't have the vocabulary to express what you're feeling inside so it's very easy to suppress your emotions because you don’t have the tools to deal with them. I was a very happy and confident child, right up until last year. Heading towards burn out my brain had been in fight or flight mode for 6 months and suddenly I had to face the very real fact... I wasn’t ok.

Back then, mindfulness wasn’t something recognised in supporting a Child's mental health so there wasn’t anything non-invasive to support grief and the feelings you have. It was only during the Hoffman that I realised how much anger I'd held inside of me and was finally able to process the loss of my Dad.

It's so refreshing and inspiring to hear I’m not alone. Prince Harry recently spoke frankly about mental health, his struggle to deal with the loss of his mother and how it took him over 20 years of saying ‘I’m fine’ to finally say, ‘I’m not ok’. The journalist Bryony Gordon, who talks openly but her own mental health put it so eloquently “Prince Harry just re-defined strength and dignity for a new generation”.

Simple mindful tools and techniques give children the space and opportunity to process their emotions without feeling like they’re being counselled or judged. Every person is unique - meditation and visualisations give you the opportunity to process emotions in your own way and on your own terms.

Grief doesn’t need to be something that creeps up on you later in life.

Knowing first-hand the difference mindfulness makes to both your physical and mental well-being means I can now help everyone get that one step further to a Happy Head.


When I was little, childhood was in many ways simpler because we were able to switch off from the outside world when we came home. There was no internet and social media hadn't been invented yet.

At the age of seven my whole world shifted when my dad very sadly took his own life. Of course 26 years ago mindfulness wasn’t even a 'thing', meditating was something that only hippies talked about and counselling held negative connotations, so there was no outlet to really process my emotions.

Ploughing forward with life at an insatiable speed as a very happy and confident girl, I witnessed the rise of social media at the end of university and the digital revolution was upon us. Moving to London, the Blackberry was quickly introduced to the working life and the ‘always on’ culture had begun.

Having worked in marketing for 11 years, I know all too well the immense pressure people can feel to meet strict deadlines; be available for bosses, clients and colleagues 24/7; and climb the professional ladder in search of that ‘ultimate job’. The levels of stress, work and often our own minds put us under is huge. Add on top of that a bully-boss and before you know if you're quickly 'losing your marbles' with anxiety reaching a whole new level.

So many people experience huge levels of career related stress and I want to teach them tools to ensure they remain on track.

One of the saddest things I've seen in the news recently was a story from the Teachers Union showing that the next generation - dubbed 'Generation Stress' - is starting to suffer from mental health problems including panic attacks, anxiety and depression from as young as four years old.

Nighty-eight per cent of the 2,000 teachers surveyed said they had come into contact with pupils who were experiencing mental health issues. Nine in 10 said they had encountered pupils of every age suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, while 79 per cent were aware of a pupil suffering from depression, and 64 per cent knew of a child who was self-harming.

The world is evolving so quickly that our brains which have developed through many thousands of years of natural evolution are struggling to keep up as everything moves from human skill and interaction to computer interfaces and digital solutions. There are things we can do to help though. For one, we can teach the next generation how to deal with mental health issues through simple mindful tools that they can utilise for the rest of their lives.

If we teach children from a young age how to deal with increasing exam pressures, social media and how to take time to stop, breathe, pause and reflect, we can give them invaluable space to self regulate their emotions.

We can’t turn back the clock on our busy digital world, but we can learn to live with our high paced environment as well as communicate and support each other better.

And that's exactly what I intend to do. My mission with Happy Heads, which I launched this week, is to help turn 'Generation Stress' into 'Generation Happy'. Please join me.