“The present is the only time that any of us have to be alive – to know anything – to perceive, to learn, to act, to change, to heal”
Jon Kabat -Zinn
What is it?
Another word for Mindfulness is ‘awareness’. To practice mindfulness is to practise a way of being that involves moment by moment non-judgemental awareness. A big part of mindfulness is about training the mind to come back to the present moment instead of living in our heads, pre–living and reliving events.
It is based on ancient traditions going back more than 2,500 years by different traditions as a way of cultivating wellbeing and thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers prove that mindfulness improves mental and physical wellbeing.
Mindfulness provides a portal to seeing how our minds work and a chance to get to know our habitual patterns of thinking and behaviour. With increasing levels of mental illness Mindfulness provides an important tool to ensure good mental health.
By being more aware of ourselves and the world around us we can learn to listen more and to make wiser choices. It helps us step back and see our situation more clearly. In doing this we make wiser choices for ourselves because bringing moment to moment awareness to stressful situations helps us to cope with them more effectively. It changes our relationship to our anxieties, our pain and our worries, allowing us to deal with them better.
The science behind it
There is substantial research showing that Mindfulness can improve our physical and mental health as well as our relationships with ourselves as much as with others.
Neuroscience studies specifically involving mindfulness meditation shows important changes in the prefrontal cortex of the brain in people who meditate.
Consultation / session
The process of becoming more aware of ourselves is explored through meditation, discussion and self exploration. Themes include stressful communication and dealing with difficulties. Mindfulness sessions can be taught in groups as part of a course or one to one.
How Can It Help?
It can potentially help all of us because it can enable us to cope with difficult emotions, thoughts or physical states in a way that is nourishing and potentially transformative.
It can create more compassion towards ourselves and others and help us to reconnect with our lives.
Mindfulness can show us how to slow down and learn how to stop and listen and get out of ‘automatic pilot’ mode and back into the present.
Scientific studies have shown that It can be beneficial for:
– Stress related conditions
– Chronic pain
– Sleep disorders
– High Blood Pressure
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence, N.I.C.E. recommend mindfulness to help prevent relapses in cases of depression.