What is Mindfulness?

‘Mindfulness means paying attention with awareness in a particular way, on purpose, in the present
moment, and non judgmentally.’ Jon Kabat-Zinn
What Mindfulness isn’t!
Mindfulness is not about sitting crossed legged on the floor or cushion, it’s a non judgmental, open state of mind where we observe our thoughts and feelings just as they are, without trying to change them. Often we live life in autopilot, rushing from one thing to the next, from one place to the next, from one conversation/email to the next without really being aware of what we are doing, saying or how we are (re)acting or responding.

Why do we need Mindfulness?
We have between 30-70,000 thoughts a day and 70% of these are the same or similar thoughts. And, we really do believe our thoughts!! Our thoughts can have a huge effect on the physical body, the body and mind are so closely linked. When our mind is fearful, our bodies follow the fear and we experience the physical effects of stress. Our thoughts really can affect our health and wellbeing.

How can Mindfulness help a busy mind?
We cannot stop our mind going off on thoughts that are not of our choosing. But when we notice it has gone and deliberately guide it back it’s like exercising a mental muscle. So if your mind wonders 20 times in the space of 1 minute, and you guide it back 20 times, you have done 20 units of exercise - the equivalent of 20 press ups in the mind. Our development is predicated on basic survival instincts stemming from our ancestors living in difficult environments, and having to hunt in order to survive. Because of this our minds are programmed towards a negativity bias. We look for things that are dangerous in order to protect ourselves.

What else can Mindfulness help with?
As well as teaching us to be more aware of our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, mindfulness teaches us coping strategies to turn to in stressful moments. It brings an awareness of our habitual thought patterns, accepting them as just that “thought pattens’. Having an awareness of these patterns of thinking enables us to notice them and not get hooked onto them. Mindfulness also helps us to ‘take in the good’, noting the simple pleasures of the day so we start to notice the positives more than the negatives.

One of the most beneficial ways in which mindfulness helps in daily life is teaching us to respond to events happening around us rather than reacting impulsively.

How can Compassion complement Mindfulness?
Compassion helps to sooth distress, promote connection to yourself and others, softens the internal self critical voice and enables you to feel able to do something beneficial when no other option is available.

The three core elements of self-compassion are; Kindness, Common Humanity and Mindfulness. Kristin Neff says that we must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self compassionate.

By treating ourselves with self compassion we give ourselves the same kindness and care we would give a good friend.

How can Kindness help us be Mindful?
Kindness means being kind and understanding to yourself, treating yourself as you would your best friend or loved one. Talking to yourself in a comforting and endearing way and being kind by thinking about what it is you need in the present moment to ensure self care. And what is Common Humanity and how does it help?

Common humanity is the understanding that unpleasant feelings are a common human experience, suffering is universal. The Covid19 pandemic is a good example of this, we have all been affected by this and have suffered in varying degrees, physically and emotionally. Having an awareness of the common humanity here helps to promote feelings of connectivity to others, rather than feeling alienated by suffering.

So in conclusion …
Mindfulness helps us to foster self awareness, helping us to identify patterns of behaviour, thought patterns and bodily sensations.

‘As we walk through the triumphs and tragedies of our lives, we relate to everything with kindness. We feel our interconnectedness with everyone and everything. We become aware of the present
moment without judgment. We experience the full spectrum of life without having to change it.’
Kristin Neff

Working with me

1:1 sessions
I offer a free consultation to clients looking for mindfulness support. If you decide to work with me, a six week programme will be tailored to support your needs. The programme will be arranged weekly, at dates to support both you and I. The sessions can be held at the Tree of Life Centre in Hove, or remotely by Zoom.

Group sessions
I design and run six week mindfulness courses throughout the year. These are run from the Tree of Life in Hove and on Zoom. Please check my courses page for information.

Mindfulness in the workplace
If you run a business and would like your staff to benefit from a mindfulness course please contact me to discuss how I can support you and your staff

I trained with Mindfulness UK https://mindfulnessuk.com/ and gained a Level 4 certificate ‘Integrating Mindfulness and Compassion in professional practice’ which is certified by the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central awarding body. I am a member of the Teach Mindfulness Academy.

One of my favourite short mindfulness practices which you can easily incorporate into your daily life is the Three step breathing space.

1 -Give full attention to whatever is happening for you right now - The sounds around you,
temperature in the room and smells, including your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations

2 -Develop Awareness of your breath, use the physical sensations of the breath to the anchor
yourself in the present moment.

3. Percieve your body as a whole, bring softness to any areas of discomfort, pain or tension.
I like to finish by bringing my awareness back out, noticing sounds, smells and the temperature of
the room.

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Courses that cover Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy, Hypnobirthing and NLP. Get in touch to find out how My New Perspective can help

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