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Do you feel constantly anxious, frightened most of the time? Feel like life is overwhelming you, but not quite sure why?



What is Mindfulness?


The Mental Health Foundation has reported that anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health issues within the UK; something that could, in part, be attributed to busy modern lives. Multitasking and juggling commitments has become commonplace, with many people feeling as if they aren't truly present in their own lives.


Mindfulness is a specific way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, as it truly is. Of course it won't eliminate life's pressures - but with practice it can help us take notice of and stop negative, habitual reactions to everyday stress.


Research shows just practicing Mindfulness for eight weeks literally rewires our brains. Just by practicing Mindfulness regularly (preferably daily). By being compassionate to yourself, practicing Mindfulness helps us develop compassion. It can be incredibly hard to be self-compassionate, but well worth the effort.


Having fun! In the West, we often take things far too seriously and can learn a great deal from Eastern teachings. Yes, Mindfulness helps us manage stress, be more creative, improves our cognitive functioning and thus our “performance” but ultimately, for me, Mindfulness is about bringing joy back into our lives and those of my Clients.


Jumping For Joy

Benefits of Mindfulness


Since the concept of Mindfulness arrived in the west in the 1970s the claimed benefits have been substantiated by several clinical studies. The aim of Mindfulness is to help individuals do the following:


  • recognise, slow down or even stop negative, habitual reactions
  • see situations with more clarity
  • respond more effectively to situations
  • enhance creativity
  • feel more balanced at work and at home

According to the Mental Health Foundation, studies looking at the effectiveness of Mindfulness have reported the following benefits:

  • 70% reduction in anxiety
  • fewer visits to the doctors
  • increase in disease-fighting antibodies
  • better quality of sleep
  • fewer negative feelings, including tension, anger and depression
  • improvements in physical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and psoriasis.

What else can Mindfulness help with?


We have already discussed how Mindfulness can be used to help people cope with issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, but what other issues could Mindfulness help with?


Insomnia

Mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia looks to integrate behaviour therapy and sleep science with the practices of Mindfulness. The goal is to help increase awareness so individuals recognise and react accordingly to the mental and physical states that occur with chronic insomnia.


Chronic pain

While initially, the idea of paying more attention to your physical sensations when you suffer from chronic pain may seem counter-intuitive, it is known that Mindfulness can help. The idea here is that instead of focusing on the negative thought patterns that emerge upon feeling the physical sensation of pain, sufferers should view their pain with curiosity. This is so the pain is experienced accurately as sometimes our minds can over exaggerate pain. Mindfulness for chronic pain helps teach individuals to let go of any expectations or future worries and instead focus on the present, dealing with physical/emotional reactions in a calm manner.


Addictive behaviour

Treating negative behaviours such as addiction can be complemented with Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as this looks to make the individual more aware of their emotions and how to deal with them, while simultaneously breaking harmful thought patterns.


Eating disorders

Mindful eating is a useful practice that involves individuals taking time to experience their food and all the sensations surrounding eating. This can help those with disordered eating see food in a different light, as well as helping them to recognise when they are physically hungry/full without any associative emotions.


Balance

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