“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
Mindfulness is a mind-body approach that can help us to think and react differently to experiences we may face in life. Practising mindfulness means being aware of our thoughts and feelings, which can help us to manage difficult situations, and also make wiser choices. Mindfulness in our everyday life can open up to us new opportunities and help us enjoy a life with less stress and anxiety.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing ourselves back to the present moment to experience life as it is happening to us now. Instead of residing in the past, which we cannot change, or worrying about what may happen in the future, which is yet unwritten, mindfulness keeps us grounded in the present. Its origins lie in Buddhist tradition, but mindfulness can be practised by anyone and is something we can practice as part of our everyday life.
Mindfulness-based therapy works by teaching you how to become more mindful in daily life, to be aware of how your past has moulded you and where you would like to be in the future.
As a therapist I can provide you with techniques to help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and how you can learn to accept these. By using mindfulness I can help you to sharpen your awareness and explore any triggers causing you unhelpful, impulsive thoughts or behaviour. This can help guide you towards healthier thoughts, emotions, behaviour and decision-making. Mindfulness can also help us to explore how you past can be altering your view of today and causing anxiety, or holding you back. Using Mindfulness-based therapy I can help you focus on what’s happening right now, rather than looking to your past. I can help you how to deal with situations better in the present, even if these stem from past experiences.
The real benefits of mindfulness are when it becomes an integral part of your everyday life. It is important to see mindfulness as a way of life, rather than just a quick fix, something that needs to be learned and practiced.
Who can benefit from mindfulness-based therapy?
Mindfulness-based therapy is helpful for anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed in life. It helps you to increase your self-awareness, get perspective on your thoughts and feelings, and how they are impacting you. Doing so can bring an inner peace and help you to feel less stressed and overwhelmed, seeing situations you face in a different way.
In recent years mindfulness techniques have gained recognition after a string of clinical studies supported its effectiveness. GPs, healthcare professionals and counsellors are learning more about mindfulness and in many cases it is recommended in fact prescribed to those who could benefit. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has also clinically approved mindfulness as a ‘treatment of choice’ for those with recurrent depression.
Benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness will help you to:
- recognise, or even stop negative thoughts and reactions
- see situations in life with more awareness and perspective
- respond differently to difficult situations
- find more balanced in your work and your personal life
- support your emotional wellbeing
According to the Mental Health Foundation, studies looking at the effectiveness of mindfulness have reported the following benefits:
- reduction in anxiety
- improved overall health
- improved sleep
- reduction in tension, anger and stress
Mindfulness can be a support to us in every aspect of life. If you would like to know more about mindfulness and how it can benefit you contact me.