Mindfulness teaches us to direct our attention to what is happening right here, right now, with an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and our experience. This “being with” ourselves is in contrast with more habitual states of mind in which we are often preoccupied with memories, fantasies, worries or planning.
Although we are often unaware of the current of our thinking, it has a profound effect on how we live our lives, as well on our mental and emotional health.
In an 8-week MBSR/MBCT programme we learn the skills which support us in developing this quality of attention, and the capacity to come back, again and again, to this present moment, with patience and compassion. These 8-week programmes are not group therapy, although they can be healing, but are very practical, educational courses, teaching us to apply the art of mindfulness to our day to day lives.
What Mindfulness Is Not:
Mindfulness is not positive thinking.
Mindfulness is not about having only good feelings. It does not help you to get rid of unwanted feelings, but to actually feel them. That is why it is often said that mindfulness is not for the fainthearted.
Our usual reaction to uncomfortable or distressing feelings is to push them away and try to get rid of them. This just does not work. “What we resist, persists.” With mindfulness we learn to turn towards the difficulties, challenges and pain in our lives with an attitude of allowing and kindness. This is a gentle process, not a forceful one, and it happens gradually as we build emotional strength and resilience.
Research into Mindfulness-based Interventions:
There has been a sizeable body of research carried out in the areas of MBSR & MBCT over the last 35 years which indicates that a regular mindfulness practice helps the body/ mind respond rather than react to stress, leaving valuable resources for taking care of our general health and well-being.
Practicing mindfulness helps us to wake up to our lives, to what is happening in this moment, with an attitude of kindness towards ourselves and our experience.
Extensive research in MBSR and MBCT has shown that developing mindfulness has a significant positive effect on:
- developing greater self awareness
- increasing ability to manage stress
- physical and psychological health,
- reducing anxiety and depression,
- reducing tension, anger and fatigue,
- enhancing relationships,
- increasing vitality
- aiding better sleep
- developing stronger immunity