WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is defined as an intentional way of focusing attention in the present moment with an attitude of non-judgement (Jon Kabat-Zinn 1990).
Modern life is increasingly frenetic and pressurised, where more and more is expected of us on all fronts. It is no surprise that most of us spend a lot of time thinking about past mistakes or worrying about the future.
Indeed, the way we think and behave affects our physical health and emotional well-being, not to mention our relationship with family members, friends and work colleagues. If our mind is constantly wandering we are less happy and less focused on the here and now.
The practice of mindfulness is about paying attention to the here and now in new and more nurturing ways; it is about allowing yourself to be as you already are. This is not only healthy but also has the potential to be healing.
It is not about trying to get anywhere. It is simply a matter of being aware of where and how you are and allowing yourself to be that. With increased awareness you can respond to situations with choice rather than react automatically.
It makes life more enjoyable, interesting, vivid and fulfilling. It also means facing up to whatever is present, even when it is unpleasant or difficult. In the long run this reduces stress and unhappiness.
MBCT is an eight week course for a group of participants who meet weekly for two hours over the eight weeks, with an additional day of silence.
The sessions consists of mindfulness meditation, cognitive exercises and an inquiry process.
The programme was designed with the central aim of reducing the risk of recurrence in those with depression and has been approved by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence). Moreover, MBCT has also been shown to be effective in other conditions including stress reduction.
The key element in MBCT is to help individuals recognise the early warning signs of depression or stress and to disengage from automated unskillful thinking and habits by having a different relationship to their thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
What will you learn?
To step out of auto-pilot
To see things as they really are
To accept yourself as you are
To respond skilfully when faced with difficult situations
To be kind and compassionate to yourself
Increased awareness of the relationship between your body and mind
Increased awareness of your thoughts and feelings and how they can affect your behaviour
Increased awareness of stress triggers and how they manifest in the body
Increased ability to step out of unhelpful habitual patterns of behaviour.