MINDFULNESS – From Fearing Change to Changing Fear!

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Mindfulness these days seems to be the ‘buzz word’ on everyone’s lips. If however we are asked to explain the value of Mindfulness and whether it’s actually effective, we should probably consider the following question, can you sit for one minute and completely quiet your mind?  Can you do this without feeling like you’re coming out of your skin? A Doctor ‘Donna Rockwell’ became interested in mindfulness and decided to test it out but soon discovered that this exercise proved quite a challenge. She found – like so many of us would if we really took the time to try meditating, or even just calming our mind it can be so tough.
We now live in a 21st Century age of high-speed this, and digitized that – so it’s even harder to slow down, connect with ourselves, and to just be.
Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat -Zinn described mindfulness as paying attention to the present moment with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if our life depends on it. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201303/benefits-mindfulness
In actual fact when we consider the issue properly, the present is the only real moment we have – in fact, our life may actually depend on it. Mindfulness is indeed a mysterious practice because we all want to try it but we’re far too busy to be still and quiet. It sounds ludicrous I know, but it’s so true. Consider for a moment this simple question……. When did you last eat, taste & truly savour a meal? Really taste your food without watching TV, answering your mobile etc?
For those who do decide to try Mindfulness with a serious commitment, the proven benefits are amazing. Mindfulness meditation has actually been proven to increase ‘telomerase’ caps’ at the end of our genes which in turn can reduce cell damage and lengthen our lives. In addition, research demonstrates that mindfulness improves & strengthens the immune system, making us better able to fight off diseases, from the flu to cancer. Mindfulness helps improve concentration & reduces negative thinking – a great contributor to the high levels of stress – so prevalent in our society.
Stress and negative thinking are not only mental health hazards, but they are quite often the very symptoms that lead people to seek out the help of a therapist. So why is mindfulness so helpful to mental health professionals?
Mindfulness is an incredible tool to help people understand, tolerate, and deal with their emotions in healthy ways. It helps us to alter our habitual responses by taking pause and choosing how we act. This is the crucial difference between acting and reacting to stressful situations. As an expert stress consultant, you would be amazed at how many people visit my practice because they are stressed out. They often describe the symptoms as being similar to a coiled spring which just seems to get tighter and tighter every day. Eventually, in many cases this then results in outbursts of anger, which in turn as you can imagine causes family & relationship problems. All this happens because we react and we do not take a step out of the situation to give ourselves time for constructive action. When we are mindful, we experience our life as we live it & not through ‘false eyes’ so to speak. We experience the world directly through our five senses. We taste the food we are eating. We recognize the thoughts we are having. In doing so, we learn how our minds work and we are better able to label the thoughts and feelings we are having – instead of allowing them to overpower us and dictate our behavior.
Because mindfulness allows stillness, reduces stress, and provides us the wisdom of living in the present moment, by embracing it we begin to also cultivate positive change in our lives. Cultivating mindfulness is powerful but it’s like anything, we must nurture and commit to our practice. Think about it…. To grow a beautiful tree we must first plant a seed. If we plant the seed where there is no light, water or resource for growth, the seed will die and the tree will never even become a shoot. If however, we tend to the seed every day watering & nurturing it, before long the tree will take its first stages of growth. This is I believe, how we should nurture our mindfulness practice. So here is an exercise you might want to try for starters ……….. At least once every day for one whole week, strike up a conversation with an elderly person living alone or who appears to be alone. Of course if they don’t want to talk with you, you have to get up and leave but if they’re happy, just strike up that conversation. Experience how that feels, notice the changes in the other person if there are any. Someone once told me “you never know how many lives you actually save as you wander aimlessly through your own life time ” If this is true, which I believe it is, just think of the good you can do with awareness of it.

To book a mindfulness session in a group or 1-1 please contact Julie Kelly @ kelly_julie1@sky.com

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