What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a process through which we focus on the present moment and become fully engaged in what we are doing, thinking, feeling or physically sensing right now. It entails being in the here-and-now, fully connected to ourselves without judgement.
Mindfulness is a practice, not a theoretical concept. This means that we need to practise it regularly for it to have the desired impact. Anything that we practise repeatedly – be it beneficial or harmful – changes our brain structure through a process known as neuroplasticity. Hence, by repeating mindfulness exercises, we reduce the connections in our brains that lead to anxiety and fear and increase those linked to concentration, focus and a general sense of wellbeing.
Although mindfulness is a practice, it doesn’t mean that we need to start doing something different to what we already do. Instead, what we need to change is how we do what we already do. Very often we lose touch with the present moment and focus mainly on the past and the future. We are afraid and worried about what has happened or about what is to come. As a result, we end up feeling disconnected or overwhelmed. This can lead to decrease in performance and even mental health problems. Instead, mindfulness is about living our everyday lives in the present moment with more awareness while being connected to our body, thoughts and emotions. We can still eat that lovely meal. But this time, we can savour every bite rather than gulping it down while focusing on what we’re going to be doing next!
Benefits of mindfulness
Many scientific studies have shown that practising mindfulness results in significant benefits. These include:
- Reducing stress, anxiety and fear
- Decreasing the feeling of being overwhelmed
- Increasing concentration, attention and energy levels
- Enhancing performance and problem-solving
- Improving sleep
- Taking back control of what influences us
- Gaining insight
- Increasing happiness
Mindfulness sessions I offer
During individual sessions we will look at what is causing you disturbance and how you would like your life to be different. We will then look at how to incorporate mindfulness practices in a way that allows you to develop a more present-oriented and happier life. Should difficult issues come up during sessions, as a trained Psychological Therapist I can offer you therapy sessions myself or refer you to another therapist, depending on your preference.
I also offer Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs. These are courses that span over 8 sessions where you learn mindfulness in a way to manage your stress. Please contact me for details about this.
I offer Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses to groups, both online and in-person. Currently, there are no groups running. If you are interested in being informed about the next groups, please sign up for our newsletter. If you are a member of a group and want to organise mindfulness sessions for your group, please get in touch with me.
Work is one of the main stressors for individuals, something that drastically reduces productivity at the workplace. Some businesses make the conscious effort to invest in reducing their employees’ stress levels which ultimately benefits them in the process as it increases performance and employee satisfaction. As a Psychological Therapist, ICF-qualified Coach and Certified Mindfulness Teacher, I offer sessions to employees and leaders in businesses with the view of improving wellbeing and performance. Please get in touch with me to discuss your needs.
Mindfulness or psychological therapy?
Our mind can be overwhelmingly busy and disconnected from the present moment for two reasons. The first is that we’re too caught up with what we need (or think we need) to do and not paying attention to what we’re experiencing. We live very fast-paced lives and we end up living mostly in our heads and forgetting our bodies. With this kind of busyness, stopping to connect to our bodies, thoughts and emotions will initially feel very strange. However, mindfulness can help us slow down the pace of life, become more in control of what is happening and improve our mental and physical wellbeing.
Our mind might, however, also be actively (and unconsciously) keeping itself very busy because it’s trying to ‘protect’ us from uncomfortable emotions or memories, often related to past events in our lives. This because our mind is afraid that, if we connect to the present moment, we will be overwhelmed by the difficult memories and the feelings of pain, shame, guilt, sadness or anger. This can make us feel out of control which can be very terrifying. In this case, mindfulness is actually very useful as it offers ways of staying calm and grounded in the present. By practising mindfulness we teach our minds that there can be a different way of dealing with difficult situations.
However, if the memories or experiences that come up are very disturbing, maybe due to past trauma, it would also be helpful to engage in some psychological therapy as this allows you to work through the difficulties at a deep level so that they no longer trigger such overwhelming reactions.