Mindfulness is a way to find balance for the many different aspects of your daily life.
We are constantly surrounded by continuously updated information through social media, news channels and the internet – it is no wonder that there is sometimes a feeling of sensory overload.
The challenges of multi-tasking and work / life balancing are forever growing, and sometimes things can feel like they are getting out of hand – you may feel like your head is about to pop, or you just want to hide away from the world outside. Mindfulness can help.
Mindfulness has its origins in the Buddhist teachings and meditation. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health attitudes and behaviours.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is about emptying the mind of thoughts, or creating a kind of mental peace.
For most of us, the capacity to fully still the mind is beyond our grasp, so when we come to try meditation without proper guidance, we may think we’ve failed when the thoughts just keep coming, and so we give up.
Meditation teaches us how to deal with this by applying concentration exercises to tame the mental activity. It may be difficult at first; we have to accept that it will take time and application of these exercises to overcome the chatter of our minds. Importantly, it is the impact of our attitudes to what we experience in meditation, as much as the exercises themselves, that help bring about the benefits – and it is here that Mindfulness comes in on the scene.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves acceptance; allowing us to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them, and without believing that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel. When we practice Mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
In essence, Mindfulness teaches us to calmly anticipate the inevitable coming and going of thoughts, emotions and sensations so they can be released and allowed to abate without controlling or manipulating them in any way. We grow in self-awareness and in a basic realisation that these are not permanent fixtures of our mind or, indeed, of our identity.
What are the Benefits?
Being mindful makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur, and make the most of what you have.
It helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
Improves Physical Health:
Scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques can help improve physical health in a number of ways:
help relieve stress
treat heart disease
lower blood pressure
reduce chronic pain
alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
Improves Your Mental Well-Being:
In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including:
Experts believe that mindfulness works by helping people to accept their experiences, including painful emotions, rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. It has become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy; they both share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.
There are many other aspects to the practices of Mindfulness that can very usefully integrated into daily life; many of them are touched upon in my Mindfulness and Compassion Meditation course.
Book your first session here or contact me to learn more.