What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about learning to wake up to your life so that you are living it in this moment and so begin to untangle the patterns of stress and confusion that we all encounter, improving your ability to engage with our life as it is happening.
We live in such a fast-paced world that many of us live on auto-pilot, multi-tasking our activities whilst thinking about the dozen things, meaning we are only half aware of what we are doing and experiencing at any moment. This means that we can easily get triggered into stress, anxiety and low mood without knowing why or what we can do about it, get stuck and lose connection with ourselves and others too.
Mindfulness invites us to wake up and experience our life without judging it. This doesn’t mean that you stop having judgemental thoughts. Rather, you begin to question whether those judgements are indeed facts. It offers a way of responding to life, so that rather than being constantly pushed and pulled by it, we can find ways of meeting our experience with more balance and ease.
Research has shown that mindfulness can help people reduce their stress levels and protect against depression, as well as manage other health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, eating disorders and addictions. It also improves the immune system and speeds healing. This technique is also now commonly found being used with children in schools and in the workplace.
How I Teach and Use Mindfulness in Sessions
Mindfulness techniques are usually taught during 6- 8 week group courses and I teach both Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in this way. Click here to see forthcoming courses.
MBSR uses simple meditation techniques and gentle movement to notice thoughts, emotions or sensations that arise in our mind and body and learning to be more present to these. MBCT teaches a simple yet radical shift in the relationship to the thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations that contribute to relapse in depression and anxiety.
I also teach these skills on a one-to-one basis and in small groups. In this setting, I draw on MBSR and MBCT as well as other meditation approaches, such as loving kindness, to create tailored meditation practices.
I can also include mindfulness techniques and teaching as part of my integrative therapy approach. I may suggest this to you as part of our work together and as part of your treatment plan. If you would like me to include mindfulness approaches in our sessions, please do ask. I am always happy to include these skills.