Have you noticed how mindfulness really seems to be in vogue? The scientific and medical communities have taken it to their hearts over recent years, resulting in brilliant scientific research and proven methodologies of working. Mindfulness is a wonderful way to learn how to relax. It can also help with many physical and emotional disorders including depression, anxiety, pain and stress.
Mindfulness meditation draws upon the 2,500 year legacy of mindfulness teaching within Buddhism. Indeed for many the thought of mindfulness meditation brings up images of monks in flowing saffron robes sitting cross legged and seeking enlightenment. I’ve had people say to me ‘Oh, I could never do with that sitting and doing nothing – it would drive me mad! Nevertheless most people seem to embrace mindfulness as a completely benign and non-threatening way of achieving change.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Developed in 1990 by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, MBSR was a pioneering integration of mindfulness meditation practices into an accessible and proactive eight session programme with psycho-educational support. At the time this was a major breakthrough from psychological / medical models of treating stress and it has received very wide enthusiastic support and is being increasingly adopted into mainstream medical approaches world-wide.
Originally taught to groups of patients with a range of physical and psychological conditions including stress, anxiety and pain, this has now been adapted and widened to include a wide variety of conditions including cancer, rheumatism, addictions and eating disorders.
What is Mindfulness?
- Eight Week Mindfulness & Meditation Course – running weekly in your area
- Workshops available
- Mindfulness/holistic retreats – overnight stay in a lovely rural retreat.
- Contact me for details on 07931918206
So isn’t it easy to see how learning to be mindful can be helpful for people who have a tendency to be depressed, to live with past trauma or to worry constantly about future events?
When combined with cognitive behavioural approaches mindfulness can help people to let go of unwanted, inappropriate and self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. Rather than ‘fighting’ unwanted feelings such as emotional and physical pain.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and great advocate of mindfulness says ‘The last thing we want to do is pay more attention to our pain. But that’s the premise behind mindfulness. Goldstein describes mindfulness as “paying attention to something on purpose and with fresh eyes.” This is why mindfulness is so helpful. Instead of focusing on how badly we want the pain to stop, we pay attention to our pain with curiosity and without judgment.’
Stress will be present in the lives of most of us and the management of stress is something which we can learn to achieve. Therapy, mindfulness and coaching can all be helpful in different ways, in stress reduction. Whereas coaching is about facilitation, and hypnotherapy is a talking therapy, mindfulness is not necessarily regarded as therapy at all. Although therapeutic in nature it is something which is likely to be taught by qualified teachers of mindfulness meditation.
Some of the benefits of mindfulness documented in research…
- Stress reduction
- Clarity and focus
- Greater resilience
- Enhanced creativity
- Improved relationships
- Improved concentration
- Rapport and communication
- Improved health and wellbeing
- Greater confidence and self-esteem
- Ability to have better quality sleep
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved work-life balance
- Greater work satisfaction
- Memory enhancement
- Intuitive ability
- Pain reduction