I was trained in Mindfulness 10 years ago while working in The National Health Service in the UK.
It was one of the best things I ever did.
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. I want to explain Mindfulness to you, from a psychologist’s perspective and let you know what to expect should you start to practice it
Mindfulness is paying attention to what you happen to be doing right now. That’s it.
If I left my explanation at that, you will stop reading, so stay with me, but seriously, that really is it.
What’s so great about that?
So much of the suffering that you (or I) experience is unnecessary, and much of it exists in your own mind. Let me explain.
Have you ever been hurt by someone, or had an argument and kept going over it again and again in your head?
If you did, you probably noticed that you were still feeling hurt or angry, even though the original event had passed.
The first hurt, that you cannot avoid, is when the event (the hurt, the argument) occurred. You can avoid the secondary hurt – the analysis that takes place in your mind, when you still feel hurt.
The argument could have happened last week or last year, and you could be on your day off, having a picnic in the Dublin Mountains, with the sun shining. If you are still going over past hurts, you will miss the fantastic Dublin mountains as your mood is being affected by what is occurring in your mind.
Mindfulness, your brain and Neuroplasticity.
You are wired that way (as am I and everyone one else) It’s a left over blip from ancient man. Those who focused more on what could possibly go wrong; survived. Unfortunately, you still have this wiring, and it is somewhat obsolete. It results in you paying too much attention to the negatives, and ignoring the positives.
The key in my last sentence was the work ‘attention.’
What you attend to, becomes real.
If your mind constantly attends to ‘work’ or the old hurts and arguments, that is what is ‘real’ to you on the glorious sunny day in the Dublin mountains (or wherever you happen to be.)
The more you attend to the old hurts, the more often you will have the thoughts. (I will explain this in more detail in another post)
Until you are consumed, overwhelmed, and can’t switch off. This is what it feels like to live life ‘un’mindfully.
You are programmed to suffer.
Wait up; we can teach an old dog new tricks – this is neuroplasticity. You can change your wiring (it is actually neural pathways in your brain, but we don’t need to get into that now – if it is something you want to learn, you can check out my course, as I cover how your brain learns there.)
Using Mindfulness to improve your health
Chronic stress plays havoc with your immune system. Practising mindfulness is one way to reduce stress, and give your immune system the break it needs.
Mindfulness gives you an awareness of your body, usually people are not so impressed by that statement!
Clench your fists, hard. Did you notice you stopped breathing for a moment?
It’s a response we have, when we experience stress or tension, our body changes. If you are serious about your health or reducing the stress on your immune system, these points are crucial.
Mindfulness to help with stress and anxiety
The rewiring I was talking about above – neuroplasticity, helps you to form new pathways in your brain that do not contain anxious thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Mindfulness for depression
CBT was always the leader here, but recent studies have shown that those individuals who also incorporate mindfulness are doing better in terms of relapse prevention – that means 6 or 12 months down the line, they are still maintaining the progress they made
Mindfulness to help manage your emotions.
This is where I first encountered mindfulness during my days working in Personality Disorders in the UK. We used, a more therapeutic form of mindfulness to help people not only cope better with their emotions, but also to manage them in more helpful ways.
Do I offer mindfulness courses in Dublin?
I use mindfulness in all of my work.
Rather than group classes, I offer online learning. I use mindfulness in all my courses and if you are interested, you can read about my most recent course Your Mind is Your Most Powerful Drug