Mindfulness practices may be helpful in the management of many health and personal issues, including mood and anxiety problems, chronic pain, trauma-related emotional difficulties, body image and eating problems, addictions and relationship difficulties.
All practitioners at The Blue Door are skilled in mindfulness-based therapies and are able to assist people wishing to explore a mindful way of life.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves actively tuning in to what is happening in the present moment – in our minds and bodies, in our environment. During mindfulness practice, we allow our bodies and minds to come to rest in the present moment, no matter what is on our minds or how our bodies feel, allow ourselves to just be with things exactly as they are, without trying to change anything. We work on becoming aware of and accepting all aspects of ourselves, without rejecting the uncomfortable or difficult bits. With practice, we can start to become more familiar with our own physical and mental patterns. Interestingly, lots of positive changes can happen quite naturally, when we become more self -aware.
Much of the time our minds are more in the past or the future than they are in the present. Our thoughts can be quite overpowering, clouding our awareness of what is actually happening in the present moment. We may find that much of the time we are on ‘automatic pilot’, not really aware of what we are doing or experiencing. Unawareness can keep us from being in touch with our own bodies, their signals and messages. This can make it difficult to cope with health and personal issues which require careful attention. Non-stop mental activity can also drain a lot of our energy and affect our ability to cope day to day. It may be especially difficult to manage pain and distress, to relax and sleep, to think clearly and to stay motivated.
Mindfulness practices involve learning to observe what our minds and bodies are up to from moment to moment, watching our thoughts and feelings and letting go of them without getting so caught up in them. Paradoxically, by allowing and accepting our experiences, we become much more skilled at managing intense feelings, sensations and thoughts – learning how to respond calmly and creatively to stressful situations rather than reacting habitually.
During the course of regular mindfulness practice, our nervous systems may learn to calm down, quite naturally, and without needing to be forced. Our bodies may become less irritable and reactive. Our minds may become calmer, more disciplined, and our concentration and memory tend to improve. We may experience more “space” between our thoughts. We may also develop a different relationship with our own body sensations, thoughts and feelings. We may become more accepting, patient and gentle in dealing with ourselves.