Mindfulness

 
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WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is simply practice bringing our attention to the sensations, thoughts and emotions going on right here, right now in a non-judgmental way. We practice this time and time again and we gradually develop a powerful ability to interrupt our tendencies of getting caught up in our thoughts and emotions. We learn to focus on the immediate present instead of constantly dwelling on the past or worrying about the future which helps to minimise the stress of everyday life.

 
 

THE EVIDENCE & BENEFITS

In the past 30 years we have learned more about the brain and how it works than ever before. One of the most interesting areas of neuroscientific research and discovery has been around the connection between mindfulness meditation and the psychological and physical benefits it can have, particularly in an 8-week mindfulness course format.

Research has shown that with practice, mindfulness can dramatically and positively counteract the effects of stress that has a huge impact on our health, performance and quality of life. The findings have led to practices being developed that are now used to treat many mental and physical health issues, as well as generally improving our performance, relationships, and well-being.

In short, mindfulness has been proven to change your brain:

  • Meditators had a measurably thicker tissue in the left pre-frontal cortext. This the area of brain used for processing difficult emotions. (2005, Sara Lazar)
  • Neditation has been shown to counteract the thinning of the cortex that occurs naturally with age and thus may protect against memory loss and cognitive defects.
  • Brains of experienced meditators contain more grey matter ie the brain tissue responsible for processing high-level information, than non-meditators. Especially in the areas of the brain associated with attention, body awareness and the ability to modulate emotional responses. (2009, Eileen Luders, UCLA)
  • Meditators have an increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
  • Participant-reported reductions in stress also were correlated with decreased grey matter in the amygdala, which is known to play an important role in anxiety and stress. (2010 Massachusetts General Hospital)
  • When meditating the area of the brain showing the response to brain is much less activated than when not meditating. The pain does not go away but it becomes more manageable.
  • Meditators are more efficient at dropping extraneous thoughts and focusing on the matter at hand.
  • Mindfulness Meditation reduces the risk of relapse in depression by more than half.
  • Meditation can also boost and improve our immune system.

Explore my blog posts for more information about evidence based research and mindfulness. 

 
 

8-WEEK MINDFULNESS BASED STRESS REDUCTION COURSE (MBSR)

The ways to learn and practice mindfulness are infinite, but the 8-week MBSR course format is a great place to begin as it is the most widely-researched and evidence-based approach. The 8-week format allows you to create a mindfulness habit by building up a regular practice over a series over a period of time. Meditating in a group is whilst being guided by a professionally trained teacher is a remarkably different experience than practicing by oneself. 

The 8-week MBSR programme was originally developed by M.I.T. professor Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970s at the University of Massachusetts General Hospital. The course explores the fundamental mindfulness meditation exercises and helps to develop skilful ways of dealing with difficult life circumstances. In addition to the meditation exercises there is information (and discussion) on managing stress, relaxation, anxiety, and how to apply mindfulness to our relationships.

MY NEXT MBSR COURSE will be starting September 2018 in parsons Green. Please sign up to my newsletter to keep in the loop.

 
 

 

 
 

Mindfulness for young people

 

What does mindfulness for young people look like?

I teach mindfulness workshops and courses in schools and to the general public. During these sessions we explore the connection between our body and mind, we look at topics such as anxiety, depression and stress and learn techniques that can help calm our minds and emotions. The objective of these sessions is to improve awareness around everyday mental health issues and provide students with skills that they can take away and use to self-regulate in day-to-day situations. The classes are informative and fun, I'm a great believer in learning through play and peer-to-peer communication so it's always fun and interactive. Mindfulness has been repeatedly proven by modern science to improve mental well-being, focus, concentration and general happiness by reducing symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. 

 

Mindfulness at work

Corporate Mindfulness
 
 

Work is usually the main source of people's stress so it only makes sense for mindfulness to be integrated into our professional lives. The more we are understanding about stress and its effects on our productivity, focus and creativity, combined with the rise in stress related illnesses, means that more and more employers are introducing their employees to mindfulness. 

Mindfulness helps to build skills and resilience that are key qualities of good leadership. It enables people to make better decisions when under pressure, improves sleep, increases focus and encourages teamwork and emotional intelligence. 

I adapt my corporate classes to meet your needs. Whether you want a one-off taster session as part of a well-being week, or a 10-week Stress Reduction course for the whole team, we'll figure out the best way to integrate these practices into your office as a whole.