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Mindfulness in Milton Keynes
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a very simple theory. Mindfulness means being deliberately aware. Being in the here and now, in the moment, in a being mode purposely, without making judgements on any thoughts that may pop into your head.
Mindfulness is often described as being in a sensing mode through noticing all the senses of thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, and smells – things we may not always notice consciously.
It sounds reasonably simple, however in practice it is more difficult because our minds are always so busy, that is, in a doing mode, or a thinking about the future or dwelling on the past mode, so it does take a lot of practice. Children tend to do this naturally and really enjoy being in the here and now and noticing things adults may not notice.
Being mindful helps us to focus. Our minds wander about half of the time, but every time we practise being mindful, we are building our focus muscle and building clarity and calmness of mind. We can take more control over our focus of attention, and choose what we focus on instead of allowing our thoughts to be controlled by things that may trouble us and take our attention away from the here and now.
Mindfulness is the complete opposite of automatic pilot mode. In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles on “automatic pilot”, without really being aware of what we are doing. Or we may have the TV on but in reality we are just day dreaming and not paying attention, we can often be “miles away” without knowing it. In this automatic pilot mode old habits can present themselves leading us to feelings of anxiety, stress or low mood. By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and the sensations in our body, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old unhelpful thoughts that may have caused problems in the past.
If we walk in a mindful way, we notice everything around us, rather than thinking about all the things we need to do at home or even thinking about negative things that have happened in the past. A mindful walk brings new pleasures, and new awareness. When we are mindfully walking we can look around and notice what we see, hear, and sense. We notice the sensations and movement of our feet, legs, arms, head and body as we take each step. Thoughts will continuously intrude, but we can just notice them, and then bring our attention back to our walking. The more we practice, the more we will notice those thoughts intruding, and that’s ok. The only aim of mindful activity is to bring our attention back to the activity continually.
Mindfulness and calm breathing
Calm breathing always originates in the diaphragm. If you breathe through your chest your breathing tends to be shallower and more rapid and may lead your body to produce adrenaline and cause panicky feelings. To learn to breathe mindfully, you firstly need to be aware of your breathing, mostly we just breathe and are not particularly aware of it. Mindful/calm breathing will also allow you to more easily focus on the current moment, so practice daily by just sitting or lying comfortably and spending time slowly and calmly breathing through your diaphragm. If your thoughts wander, just gentle bring them back to your breathing. No matter how many times your mind wanders away just gently bring your attention back to your breath. Practice mindful breathing for fifteen minutes at a convenient time every day, whether you feel like it or not, for one week and see how it feels to incorporate a disciplined meditation practice into your life. Be aware of how it feels to spend some time each day just being with your breath without having to do anything.
How mindfulness may help you overcome anxiety
Use mindfulness to cope with negative experiences (thoughts, feelings, events). As you become more practised at using mindfulness so you can then learn to be more accepting of your thoughts and feelings, to become an observer rather than a critic. This results in less distressing feelings, and increases your ability to enjoy your life. With mindfulness, even the most disturbing sensations, feelings, thoughts, and experiences, can be viewed from a wider perspective as passing events in the mind, just like a guest in our house, who arrives, stays a while and then departs. When you become more practiced in using mindfulness, you can use it even in times of intense distress, by becoming mindful of the actual experience as an observer; using mindful breathing and focussing your attention on your breathing. Then listening to the distressing thoughts mindfully, recognising them as merely thoughts, breathing with them, allowing them to happen without believing them or arguing with them. If the thoughts are too strong or loud, then you can move your attention to your breath, the body, or to sounds around you. Maybe it would be helpful to think of your mind as an ocean. There are always waves on the ocean sometimes big, sometimes small, and sometimes almost imperceptible. The water’s waves are churned up by winds, which come and go and vary in direction and intensity, just as the winds of stress and change in our lives, stir up waves in our mind. It’s possible to find shelter from much of the wind that agitates the mind. Whatever we might do to prevent them, the winds of life and of the mind will blow. However, by using mindfulness we are aware that these events, these thoughts, will come and go and that we are able to deal with lives issues and events in a kind and non-judgemental mindful way.
Set Your Mind Free – Hypnosis Practice Milton Keynes
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