Mindfulness involves paying close attention to whatever experience exists is in the present moment.
People are so often preoccupied, thinking of something or making plans or worrying about the future or the past, whilst doing things on automatic pilot. This results in missing out on the richness of the everyday experience and the many small pleasures that ordinary life can bring.
Mindfulness increases awareness. Awareness brings choice.
Choice allows you to take control of your life rather than being driven by habits you don't even notice. It is worth noting here that the practice of mindfulness is almost identical to that of self hypnosis, but without the intention of suggested change. Mindfulness acknowledges and teaches acceptance that change will happen over time, because nothing stays the same.
Learning mindfulness activities and skills involves learning techniques, and can be done on a one to one basis or in a small group.
Mindfulness has achieved world-wide recognition for its effectiveness, and is supported by many scientific research studies.
The benefits of Mindfulness
Over time, regular practice of mindfulness brings mental fitness, just as exercise brings physical fitness. Enabling improvements in focus, concentrating better brings rewards. Many people report feel calmer and happier with regular practice.
Research has shown that practising mindfulness reduces the symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety and chronic pain. There are now several hundred published research papers investigating mindfulness, and many new studies are in progress. Its impact is such that official guidance for NHS treatment has been recommending that mindfulness be available for patients with recurrent depression since 2004 (NICE guidelines for the treatment of depression 2004, 2009).
Stress not only causes people to be distressed, it also contributes to the development of serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke). Reducing stress through mindfulness therefore contributes to physical health as well as mental well-being. Stress management is essential in modern life.
Everyone can benefit from learning mindfulness, it is not only for people seeking treatment or therapy for something.
You can live life in a more fulfilling way when you are engaged with the reality of your present experience, setting aside habits and changing things such as being judgmental or critical of yourself and or others and letting life be just as it is.
Releasing yourself from the constant conflict inherent in wanting things to be other than how they actually are frees you up to make the most of what life offers.
Cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience are confirming the benefits of mindfulness in retraining the brain out of unhelpful and inefficient loops, helping it to function optimally.
While open to interpretation the BBC's report on how Mindfulness changes the brain's response to stress and chronic pain can be seen in this short video, please click here.