We drift through many activities in our life not being fully present but when we are mindful we are fully aware of the drive to work or the warmth of the water as we wash up which makes these activities far more enjoyable. Life isn’t the very special moments that really stand out, they are just fractions of it. Life is washing the dishes, making a meal, waiting in line at the supermarket. If we don't make these moments count we could miss the majority of our life.
Being mindful also means we do not get caught up in our worries, dwelling on the past or on what we need to do. Instead, we are fully experiencing this moment – the smells, the sight, the feel, the sense of what is happening in the body, instead of the moment drifting by. Athletes sometimes call this being “in the zone” – they are fully present/fully focused.
If thoughts are going round and round, it can be very draining and tiring whereas if we have a clear mind we feel more relaxed and more awake. If our thoughts are negative, one often leads to another and another which can result in a downward spiral. Through practising mindfulness we can identify the thoughts and bring our attention back to the present and so preventing the continuation of negative thoughts.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Scientific evidence shows mindfulness can reduce:-
Chronic stress, anxiety and worry
Chronic pain levels and enable us to cope with permanent pain and be less focused on it
The chance of a recurrence of depression
Lower blood pressure
Our quickness to anger
It improves our:-
Resilience – Our ability to cope with what life throws at us
Calmness, Ability to relax
Happiness and Positivity
Productivity at work/home
Ability to change habits
Understanding of ourself
Sense of meaning and purpose in life
Enthusiasm for life
Mindfulness changes our brain's shape and activity.
Studies on participants who completed the 8 week MBSR course found that the increased grey-matter and activity in specific regions of the brain resulted in improved memory, focus, learning, decison making and much more. Read more here.
The 8 week MBSR course is used in many hospitals, schools, prisons and health services around the world.
In the UK, the government has recommended it should be taught in schools to help children and teachers to cope with stress.
The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends mindfulness for preventing depression in people who have had three or more bouts of depression in the past.
Mindfulness has also been seen to help reduce symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome CFS and reduce Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD.
Please call Claire to discuss how mindfulness can help you specifically or to discuss which mindfulness course is most suitable for you - either mindfulness via Skype or Facetime (which works extremely well as it can be tailored to your own needs) or mindfulness courses in Scotland.