Expert Insights

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04th December 2017

Revisiting Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness has featured here before as a topic for expert insights. The man regarded as the founder of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn has been describing its origins in a recent interview in the Guardian. It’s not really a new form of therapy because Kabat-Zinn has been teaching the approach for nearly 40 years. For a few years now some MPs have been undertaking a course in it. The NHS has been supporting its use for over ten years and it is available in some areas on the NHS. The NHS website describes it as paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you.

Experiencing Mindfulness

The NHS website describes some ways people can experience mindfulness as part of everyday life:

  • Notice the sensations in all of the things you do as part of your daily life. Walking to the post box or doing the housework don’t sound like the kind of activities to get excited about, but mindfulness is about being aware of all of your senses as you do these things
  • We are often so busy as part of our day to day routine that we find it difficult to do this all the time, so pick a regular time in the day when you can really focus on things around you
  • From time to time try doing something different or going somewhere different to experience new sensations
  • Mindfulness helps to overcome worries about things that have happened or worries about what might happen. When you get those thoughts start to think about what’s happening now. Concentrating on the here and now may be a good way to manage your anxieties.

Mindfulness For Managers

I’ve read of social care managers using it to manage the stress and anxiety of their work, and people with dementia using it to divert thoughts away from worrying about becoming more confused. There’s plenty of information out there to help you make use of it, in particular, the Oxford Mindfulness Centre based at the University of Oxford who are recognised leaders in the field. (http://oxfordmindfulness.org)

Caution

As with all therapeutic interventions, there need to be some words of caution.  For people who are severely depressed, this isn’t the best place to start. They may well be in need of other treatments before being able to benefit from mindfulness. In addition, some people have reported extreme psychological difficulties after undergoing intense forms of meditation.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Topics: Mental Health

David Beckingham

Mental Health Specialist

David Beckingham is a self-employed independent trainer, and is also an honorary lecturer with the University of Cumbria. His professional background is as a social worker and he has worked in care homes for older people in Cumbria. David’s main area of expertise is in mental health. Prior to becoming self-employed he was a Staff Development and Training Officer with Cumbria County Council, both commissioning and delivering training to mental health workers and others in statutory and independent sector organisations. Read more

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