What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can help you manage your mental health and gain more enjoyment from life. It involves giving your full attention to what is happening in the present moment, for example what is happening in your body, your mind and your surroundings: in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness describes a way of approaching thoughts and feelings so that we are more aware of them and react differently to them.
Where does Mindfulness come from?
Mindfulness originates in Buddhism however being mindful is a skill that anyone can learn. You do not have to be spiritual or have any particular beliefs to try it.
How can Mindfulness help?
Mindfulness can help you to:
• develop more helpful responses to difficult feelings and events
• feel calmer and able to manage stress and anxiety better
• manage certain physical health problems (eg chronic pain)
How does Mindfulness work?
In mindfulness you try to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical feelings. This can help you:
• notice when you get caught up in negative thoughts and manage them better
• become aware of the effect that thoughts and events can have on your body so that you can look after yourself better
• feel able to make choices about how you respond to your thoughts and feelings
Is Mindfulness right for me?
Although many people can benefit from mindfulness not everyone finds it helpful. Mindfulness may behelpful if you:
• struggle with negative thoughts and feelings
• find it hard to switch off and relax
• worry a lot about events you cannot control
• would like to reduce your stress and anxiety levels
You may find that mindfulness just does not suit you or does not meet your needs. Before you decide to try mindfulness it may be helpful to think about:
• am I comfortable being aware of my thoughts and feelings? Being aware of your thoughts and feelings can initially make you feel worse before you feel any benefit. The course is designed to provide you with the exercises and tools to help you enjoy life more
• how well am I feeling? It is not a good idea to start learning mindfulness when you are very unwell: it may be hard to get the most out of it and you may find it emotionally too challenging.
• would I prefer one-to- one support? The mindfulness course is set in a group format, if you would like to discuss your problems in detail or do not feel comfortable exploring your thoughts and feelings in a group setting then perhaps one-to- one sessions would be more suitable for you.
• do I want support for a specific issue? Mindfulness focusses on thoughts and feelings in day-to-day life. If you feel you need help with a specific problem then a more focussed treatment may be more suitable. Discuss the options with the mindfulness teacher, your doctor and other health professionals before making a commitment to the course
• am I able to to put the work in? Learning mindfulness can take time. This eight week mindfulness course involves making a commitment to a daily practice in between the sessions
How can I learn mindfulness?
• In a group setting on a structured four/eight session course (90 minutes per session)
• one-to- one sessions, also for specific issues, eg chronic pain, anxiety, migraine
• maintenance sessions
• taster sessions