What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way to develop our awareness of the ongoing stream of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the body. It is a way of paying attention, with intention, to what is occurring in the present moment. It is also about noticing the inevitable judgements and criticisms in the mind and working with them in a completely different way.
Why Mindfulness Approaches?
Mindfulness-Based approaches have been growing in popularity over the past twenty years. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are the most widespread models used. However, Mindfulness–Based approaches can also include, for example, Compassionate Mind Training, Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) and Coaching models. In the workshops we have facilitated to date, we offer a combination of these approaches. They have the same principles and philosophy underpinning them and we believe they have something additional to offer in terms of knowledge and practice.
Happiness, joy and contentment are natural human emotions, but life can also feel painful and everyone at some time in their lives may experience sadness, anger, anxiety fear, frustration, disappointment, guilt, disgust, rejection, loss and failure. Mindfulness Based approaches make a distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is what people inevitably experience as part of their lives. However, suffering is the attempt to escape from or avoid the pain, thinking about it, over and over and being unwilling to experience the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that accompany it.
We can get caught up in our ideas, memories and thoughts, often about the past or the future, and allow our lives to be directed and driven by them. Often we operate on ‘automatic pilot’, for example going on a journey and not remembering how we got there. This makes it more difficult to be aware of the negative trains of thought and is more likely to lead to a spiralling of negative thinking that also affects how we feel. The practice of mindfulness helps provide a space which enables us to stand back and allows us to respond rather than react to our thoughts, emotions and bodily experiences and to what is going on around us. We learn to respond with awareness and in the present rather than from habitual tendencies. Practising mindfulness is like being on a journey for the rest of our lives. It is a way of living well rather than a set of techniques to make us feel better.
General Benefits of Mindfulness
Becoming more aware of this tendency to avoid, and coming into the present, means we can respond in a more effective way.
The aim is to help create a rich, full, and meaningful life, while accepting the painful times that life inevitably brings.
Living life in our minds and being overwhelmed by feelings often gets in the way of attending to what matters to us. Sometimes we lose track altogether of what we feel is really important for us to have in our lives and what we need to do about it. Being present and experiencing stillness, more often, helps us to clarify what we consider to be meaningful and enables us to make a commitment to set goals and take action toward creating a life well lived.
There is an increasing body of research that shows that Mindfulness-Based approaches are effective in the areas of depression, anxiety, stress (including work related stress), psychosis, prejudice, eating difficulties, substance misuse, relationship difficulties and a range of physical health conditions such as chronic pain, diabetes, epilepsy and cardiac problems. Evidence shows that Mindfulness-Based practices increase activity in a number of brain regions including those involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, improved decision making, enhanced creativity and perspective taking.
Nourishing a Way of Being
There are several attitudes essential to the nurturing of mindfulness. Every human being has these but they can be covered over by our past and current experiences and the busyness of our lives. However, these attitudes can be nourished by the practice of mindfulness, like watering seeds. These are: trust, non-striving, beginner’s mind, curiosity, letting go, acceptance, kindness and patience and noticing the mind’s tendency to judge and criticize. Noticing and labelling the mind’s tendency to get caught up in the content of our minds is one of the key practices.
Being present and experiencing more stillness helps to clarify what is meaningful to us and enables us to goals and take action to create a life well lived.
With mindfulness life can feel more balanced.
What we Offer: Courses and Workshops
Mindfulness Awareness Days
‘The practice of mindfulness has been shown to exert a powerful influence on one’s health, well-being and happiness … its cultivation is a process, one that of necessity unfolds and deepens over time.’ Jon Kabat-Zinn
It can feel difficult at times to create space away from the everyday busyness of our lives. We are offering the opportunity to join us for a morning of mindfulness practice. We can give ourselves that space by practicing with others, sharing experiences and nurturing our own health and well-being. We will practice core mindfulness exercises, interspersed with inspiring poems and stories.
Two-Day more intensive days
Silent Mindfulness Day
8 week MBSR Course
Monthly Mindfulness Practice
Other workshops and courses will be provided according to need and demand. Some days will be offered with a particular focus, for example, compassion.
'Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.'
'Balance' - conceptual artwork by Brian Wright brianwrightart.com
Good Books to Read:
Kitchen Table Wisdom & My Grandfather’s Blessings: Rachel Remen
Mindfulness for Dummies: Shamash Alidina
Guardians of Being, The Power of Now & Stillness Speaks: Eckhart Tolle
Finding Peace in a Frantic World Mark Williams & Danny Penman (CD included)
Full Catastrophe Living: Jon Kabat-Zinn
Letting Everything become your Teacher: Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever you go, There you are: Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Little Book of Mindfulness: Dr Patrizia Collard
The Mindfulness Breakthrough: Sarah Silverton
The Happiness Trap: Russ Harris