What is Mindfulness?
The truth is that busyness and stress feel inevitable, particularly with advancements in technology which can put more and more pressure on us to keep working outside our normal working hours and be a cause of overload both physically and psychologically. We can feel overwhelmed by daily demands and pressures, working longer and harder and at the same times dealing with the family and perhaps unexpected health issue of our own or loved ones. So how does mindfulness practice help…?
Mindfulness is about being in the present, in the here and now, experiencing the moment as it is without judgement and being better able to respond to circumstances rather than react.
Being mindful isn’t only about experiencing pleasant thoughts it is about being present in all of life’s situations that we encounter, being more aware of what we feel, how we feel and being better able to make calm, non-judgemental responses with loving kindness towards ourselves and others.
Through practicing mindfulness exercises on a regular basis we are able to challenge habit based thinking and develop alternative ways of thinking and responding. This results in benefits in our mental, physical and emotional well-being.
There is evidence now which not only points to the benefits in health but also demonstrates positive changes in the structure of the brain. There are findings in neuroscience which demonstrate positive changes in the brain as a result of mindfulness practice.
Research has shown how mindfulness practice can actually change areas of the brain associated with improved cognitive functioning and the ability to regulate emotions. After relatively short periods of mindfulness practice structural changes in the brain can be observed due to a process called neuroplasticity.
Studies have shown that an 8 week course reduces the reactivity of the amygdala (the part of the brain that deals with the fight, flight and freeze response) and increased activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex that helps to regulate emotions, subsequently reducing stress. Mindfulness has also been shown to bring about changes in the immune system by boosting antibody count and aids pain management with reports of lower pain intensity experiences, particularly in chronic pain conditions.
- stress reduction
- relapse prevention for depression
- regulating Blood Pressure
- aiding sleep
- management of pain
- improving concentration
- greater clarity of thought
- improved communications with others
- being less “reactive” and more “responsive”
- ability to recognise one’s own thoughts and distinguish whether they are subjective or objective
- a greater general sense of well-being.
Principles of Mindfulness
What do we offer?
We offer, in the Malvern and surrounding areas, experiential and theoretical mindfulness skills training:-
- 8 week Mindful Based Stress Reduction courses based on the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- 8 week Mindful Self Compassion courses based on the teachings of Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff.
- 7 week course The Present , this is based on the teachings of Sarah Silverton.
- Eating with Conscious Awareness courses based on the work of Jan Chozen-Bays.
- Weekends and workshops.
- Individual sessions.
- Bespoke courses for businesses of any size incorporating other professionals as needed.
Here at Malvern Mindfulness we teach from a secular perspective incorporating neuroscience, cognitive science findings and Buddhist Contemplative Practice.
In our busy "doing" environment we can lose touch with our everyday experience, moving into "being" mode brings a much richer and rewarding way of existence. Mindfulness helps us to use all of our senses to become aware, more often.
“Mindfulness is an act of hospitality. A way of learning to treat ourselves with kindness and care that slowly begins to percolate into the deepest recesses of our being while gradually offering us the possibility of relating to others in the same manner. Working with whatever is present is enough. There is no need to condemn ourselves for not feeling loving or kind. Rather, the process simply asks us to entertain the possibility of offering hospitality to ourselves no matter what we are feeling or thinking.” Santorelli.S (1999)
The Practice of Mindfulness has been recommended by The National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the treatment of recurrent depression (see page 37 of following link for further details):- read it here
and The Mental Health Foundation:- read it here