Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

What is Mindfulness

Mindfulness stretches back 1000’s of years and has its roots in Buddhism, Hinduism, Hasidic and other various religious and secular traditions, it is also found in non-religious meditation in yoga. The explosion of mindfulness across Western civilisations has taken the practice towards a more non-religious direction.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Paying attention in a particular way

The modern world, brings with it allot of distractions in all sorts of disguises, from social engagements, work commitments, electronic gadgets from phones to tv sets to social media, other commitments, other engagements, some expected and some unexpected. Back in the day when the factory whistle blew you where quite literally detached from that place of work, granted you may have taken with you the stresses and strains of the work place, but you where not going home and plugging into the stresses and strains of the rest of the planet.

As out lives get more complex, and filled with an ever increasing information live stream, the humble human goes more and more on auto pilot. This mode of operation is akin to being physically present somewhere but not emotionally. Here is a test to prove this out, think to a time before you began work, or college and compare that to when you where committed to work or college. On paper the only difference is one has a number of committed hours outside of the house and one does not. Unfortunately if we could detach and act like robots this would be life personified. The day you start the job, the college course or any other significant undertaking is the day that your 24 hour clock is altered. Even if you run the company and enjoy the work and the challenges, the impact on your being, if left unchecked can be quite considerable from a mental health perspective.

So what has this to do with paying attention? It is the beginning of a process to ground yourself back to some level of grounded reality. Instead of floating on autopilot with your calculating mind firing on all cylinders day in day out, you are for the moment paying attention, and paying attention in a particular way.

A Mindfulness walk

The sun is shining, and we take a mindfulness walk through the meadow. We begin by noticing the shade and the cut of the grass, the cracks in the mud, the wood rings in the aged fence posts, the twists of the metal barbs fence, as we walk we smell the sent in the air and the swirl of the wind against our faces. For this walk our goal is to pay attention, and to notice every detail that comes into mind, using the scene that is underfoot play out like the highest resolution cartoon movie.

By reconnecting with these moments in life, by beginning to live the moment, at that moment, until the next moment appears. It becomes possible to rediscover our sense of peace and enjoyment. As we perfect this mindset, we may begin to feel once again, truly enchanted with life.

Mindfulness not to be confused as a medicine cure

Mindfulness is not however a medicine that may cure you of all your challenges and woes, but what it will do is change our views and perspectives on the troubles within and open new pathways of possibility. Moving from just being and struggling back towards adventurous and living. You don’t live for the pain in the shoulder, you live and you do have a pain in the shoulder. You enjoy a dinner out with the family without mental distraction but you also have a job next week.

Thoughts that can change our reality

Practicing mindfulness over the long term can have the positive effect of changing our biochemistry, in ways of altering the production of chemicals that affect our moods. Some studies have also identified changes to the brain in those that are devoted mindfulness practitioners, one of the famous names that springs to mind are the MRI tests carried out on the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard.

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