What does being mindful mean?

This post has been thanked 2 times. 27 December 2013 - 23:43

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WHAT DOES BEING MINDFUL MEAN?

Mindfulness is about being aware of yourself and of the here and now without being judgemental.

We live in a fast paced world where things are constantly changing and if we’re not careful our minds can become cluttered and full of thoughts that aren’t important or relevant to the moment.

When was the last time that you were able to focus solely on the task without your mind full of what you needed to do next or indeed what you’ve done or what you think that you’ve done?

When was the last time that you were truly aware of your surroundings? Especially when we’re out we are so intent on getting from A to B that we don’t take time to notice anything around us. Next time that you are out walking or on public transport (not if you’re driving) instead of forging ahead to your destination take time to become aware of your surroundings. Spring in particular is a great time for this as each day there is something new to see.

With OCD are minds tend to be so full of the past and the future that we end up not experiencing the present and so we end up missing out on life.

Breathing mindfully is not about concentrating on or controlling your breathing. It is about being aware of it. For instance what does it feel like? – Does it feel cold as you breathe in and warm as you breathe out?

We take our bodies for granted most of the time and lose touch with what they feel like and what it feels like to be us.

The mindfulness body scan is great for grounding us in the present moment.

Jon Kabat-Zinn adapted the work of Thich Nhat Hanh (who brought mindfulness to the attention of the western world) into a structured eight week programme called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) a programme of mindfulness and Hatha yoga which aimed to teach patients how to cope with stress, pain and illness by using moment to moment awareness.

Zindel Segal and Mark Williams then took this a step further and created a therapy called MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) which was partially based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It uses traditional CBT methods along with mindfulness and mindfulness meditations.

The aim of MBCT is to increase metacognitive awareness, to accept negative thought patterns and provide the skills to be able to respond appropriately. It teaches people to decentre their negative thoughts and feelings and allow the mind to move from an automatic thought pattern to conscious emotional processing. It has been successfully used within the NHS for depression and is being further adapted for use with other conditions including OCD.

Like CBT it takes a considerable amount of time, effort and patience to learn how to do it, it’s not sufficient to read a book on it or just listen to a CD. It needs to be practised daily so that it eventually becomes a way of life. Personally I think that the rewards that both CBT and MBCT can bring are worth the effort and ultimately both are far less time consuming than our OCD.

Mindfulness now has many applications not only for physical and mental health problems but also for use within the work place.

The best links for mindfulness are those by Jon Kabat-Zinn as he developed mindfulness for the western world and for MBCT any links by Prof Mark Williams

My recommendations include:

What meditation really is - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is right now - Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness Meditation Taster with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Introduction to Mindfulness with Mark Williams

Three Minute Breathing Space with Mark Williams

Suggested books to read:

The mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

16 August 2014 - 22:14

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Thanks again truddles,

at my last cbt session I started mindfulness, in the evenings I have used it but I am normally calm by then. I am more stresses in the mornings, at work, in public places and in groups even family groups. Like you said I need to stop beating myself up, dwelling on things if I could get to grips with this I will be on the road to recovery. I find it difficult to practice this skill during the day. My insurance company has signed me off for 6 sessions I think that's not enough what are your thoughts? As my partner has said I need to start living life or it will pass me by. : (

have a good weekend,

cheers,

grumpy

17 August 2014 - 15:47

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Try using the three minute breathing space exercise before confronting stressful situations. It's something that you can do anywhere and will help to reduce the anxiety, it also gives you the space to take a step back allowing you to react appropriately to the situation. I've found that it's got me out of many tricky situations and without grizzling.

Have a try and see if it helps.

17 August 2014 - 20:26

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Hi truddles, 

I don't know if I have that 3min technique? I have been using a disk from cbt and the online ucla mindfull web-site. Is there one you could recommend please?

Cheers,

Grumpy

17 August 2014 - 20:30

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Ps the only time I get a break from the ocd is when I am gardening or doing DIY, however I can't throw anything out lol, the winter is coming so I am going to do a bit of studying to keep myself occupied, until next spring.

17 August 2014 - 23:00

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The three minute breathing space is included as one of the links on my first post in this topic along with some other useful links for mindfulness.

 

18 August 2014 - 18:35

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Doh!! Sorry truddles did not realise they were links, having a bad fees days. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, you advice and support is very much appreciated, it's good to talk with someone who is or was in the same position. Keep up the good work.

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