Mindfulness has become this year’s buzz word but it’s not a new approach to improved wellbeing. It’s origins can be traced to Buddhist spiritualism but modern mindfulness approaches are non-religious and suitable for people of any or no faith.
Using a series of techniques, based on meditation, breathing exercises and cognitive therapy, mindfulness helps people better manage symptoms of stress and depression. Practising mindfulness helps the individual to be fully aware of the moment – positively focuses the mind on conscious living in the present – encouraging the mind to stop chasing different thoughts and reducing the impact and influence of stressful thoughts and feelings.
Paying attention “in the present moment”
“Left to itself the mind wanders through all kinds of thoughts — including thoughts expressing anger, craving, depression, revenge, self-pity, etc. As we indulge in these kinds of thoughts we reinforce those emotions in our hearts and cause ourselves to suffer. Mostly these thoughts are about the past or future. The past no longer exists. The future is just a fantasy until it happens. The one moment we actually can experience — the present moment — is the one we seem most to avoid.”
Mindfulness is prescribed to thousands of patients on the NHS each year to help prevent anxiety, depression and stress. It has been proven to help with a wide range of clinical disorders, including chronic pain, PTSD, OCD, and borderline personality disorder.There is also growing evidence that it is effective for chronic long-term health conditions such as ME.
Benefits of Mindfulness in Life and Work
- improves focus and concentration
- increases self-awareness by becoming more connected to oneself
- helps prevent negative thoughts and feelings about the past and future from escalating
- helps prevent relapses of depression and mood disorders
- facilitates better relationships
- can help reduce workplace tensions
- replaces self-defeating behaviours with more effective ones
- develops self acceptance and a non-judgmental attitude