MINDFULNESS

Theresa Henry MBACP (Accred)
EMDR Practitioner
Counsellor/Psychotherapist

CONTACT THERESA

 
 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

The Mental Health Foundation has reported that anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health issues within the UK; something that could, in part, be attributed to busy modern lives. Multitasking and juggling commitments has become commonplace, with many people feeling as if they aren’t truly present in their own lives.

Mindfulness is a specific way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, as it truly is. Of course it won’t eliminate life’s pressures – but with practice it can help us take notice of (and hopefully stop) negative, habitual reactions to everyday stress.

HOW DOES MINDFULNESS WORK?

By focusing our attention on the present moment, mindfulness counteracts rumination and worrying. Worrying about the future (e.g. I better remember to pay those bills and clean my house this weekend) and ruminating about the past (e.g., I should have done this rather than that) are generally negative thinking processes. Of course, it is important to learn from our past and plan ahead for the future; however, when we spend too much time outside of the present moment, we can get depressed and anxious. In such cases, mindfulness can be an important tool for helping us to better focus on the present moment.

Research has shown that mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision. By teaching awareness for one’s physical and mental state in the moment, mindfulness allows for more adaptive reactions to difficult situations.

mindfulness-based THERAPIES

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

In small doses, stress helps us rise to challenges and pushes us to act. In the long-term however, too much stress can be detrimental to our well-being as these feelings begin to internalise and eat away at us. Symptoms of stress include loss of appetite, insomnia, anger, anxiety and even chest pains. Research has shown that people who are under prolonged stress are at a greater risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.

MBSR looks to help people cope with stress using mindfulness techniques such as gentle stretching, mindfulness meditation and other mind-body exercises. The aim is to offer a greater clarity on what is happening, to help people recognise stress triggers and deal with them in a productive manner. According to the Mental Health Foundation, the majority of those who take part in MBSR courses are reported to feel more engaged in work, less anxious and have fewer physical symptoms of stress.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

Designed specifically to help those prone to recurring depression, MBCT combines mindfulness techniques (such as meditation, stretching and breathing exercises) with elements of cognitive therapy that help break negative thought patterns.

NEED SUPPORT URGENTLY?

Please visit the In Crisis page where there are helpful guides to understanding your feelings now and where to go for further support.

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