What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being increasingly recognised as an incredibly effective way to cope with stress and also recognised by NICE and the NHS as the most effective way to prevent relapse into depression and anxiety states. It has been found to help with pain management and weight loss.
Mindfulness meditation stems from the Buddhist tradition, but has been secularised to ensure that it is fully inclusive.
Mindfulness is not paying more attention but paying attention differently , more wisely and more kindly- with the whole heart and mind, using the full resources of the body and its senses.
Mindfulness enables you to increase awareness so that you can respond to situations with choice, rather than react automatically. This is done by intentionally becoming more aware of our mind and thoughts, of where our attention is, how we can change that focus of awareness and the effects this has on our well-being.
Mindfulness is not about trying to get anywhere but to learn to be aware of where you actually are and allow yourself to be where and as you are.
Both mind and body are vital to finding inner stillness and mindfulness works with both mind and body.
Mindfulness is not just about formal meditation practice, but also teaches techniques that can be incorporated into every day life.
So many of us find it difficult to `juggle’ and cope with the pressures of modern living. Every day, a quarter of a million people take time off work because of stress, with 75 per cent of all illnesses thought to be stress-related. When life feels full of challenges and days seem hard to cope with, It can be hard to see light at the end of the tunnel.
So, practicing mindfulness gives us more insight into our thoughts & emotions, it boost our attention and concentration levels and improves relationships. It’s proven to help with anxiety, stress, depression, and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical pain, hypertension and heart disease.
Mindfulness-based approaches – What are they?
MBCT & MBSR
These clinically based approaches are Intended to teach people practical skills that can help with physical and psychological health problems and ongoing life challenges. They are an integration of Buddhist practices and philosophy of mindfulness, with current psychological understanding and knowledge.
They are taught in an entirely secular way. Taught through meditation skills which include bringing attention to the breath and the body during stillness and movement. The two main approaches that have been developed in recent years are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) both of which are taught over eight weeks in 2 hr or 2.5 hr. sessions.
Mindfulness is big news and spreading! Read the latest on mindfulness here
What NHS say about Mindfulness & Meditation
The Guardian article: NHS recognises Mindfulness & Meditation