I am also qualified in Mindfulness Practice and like Auricular Acupuncture (discussed in my last blog post) this can be used as an add-on to counselling if clients wish. This blog hopes to provide you with some more information on Mindfulness and its benefits.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has its origins in Ancient Buddhist practices from other 2,500 years ago, however in recent years, Mindfulness has gained increasing popularity in the Western world particularly in the fields of medicine, neuroscience, psychology, education and business. This can be attributed in large part to the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the early pioneers of the western Mindfulness movement. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, Mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
Why do we need Mindfulness? Mindfulness describes a way of approaching our thoughts and feelings so that we become more aware of them and react differently to them. Rather than being overwhelmed by our thoughts and feelings we are therefore better able to manage them. Our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and our lives also impacts on our behaviour and how we cope in tough times. It affects our ability to make the most of the opportunities that come our way and plays a full part amongst our family, workplace, community and friends.
What can Mindfulness help with? While research is still growing in the area of Mindfulness, evidence has suggested the benefit of Mindfulness to health and wellbeing, with results showing positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behaviour, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
Mindfulness has also shown to help with a number of conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, addictive behaviours such as alcohol or substance misuse and gambling, and physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain. The National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) even now recommends the use of Mindfulness based psychological therapies for the prevention of relapse in recurrent depression.
Is Mindfulness for me? Mindfulness is recommended as a treatment for individuals suffering from Mental Health conditions as well as those who simply want to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
It is for everyone from all walks of life, young or old. Mindfulness is not a religion and there is no necessary religious component to Mindfulness - anyone, with any belief system, can enjoy the benefits of Mindfulness.
How do I learn Mindfulness practices? If clients are particularly interested in Mindfulness practice then I am happy to introduce them to simple Mindfulness exercises that take little effort and can be done pretty much anywhere at any time. These can help empty your mind and find some much-needed calm amidst the madness of your hectic day.
They include: • Mindful Breathing • Guided Meditations • Loving Kindness Meditations • Body Scan Meditations • Progressive Muscle Relaxation • Informal types of Mindfulness such as Mindful walking, Mindful eating and Mindful listening (to music)