I have been teaching stretch and relax classes for a number of years and I believe in a holistic approach that incorporates the mind, body and the spirit.
A mindfulness participant commented, "Why has it taken me sixty years to discover this!"
Have you ever driven somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realise that you remember nothing about your journey? I certainly have! This is our mind on automatic pilot.
Mindfulness can help us become more aware of what you are thinking and doing. We can learn to "be" with our experience and avoid the tendency to go on automatic pilot which can feed our problems. In turn, we can learn how to respond more wisely by creating a gap between our experience and our reaction.
A key element in mindfulness practice is compassion to ourselves and others. We learn that thoughts are just thoughts and the simple act of recognising your thoughts as thoughts can free you from the distorted reality they often create and help you manage your life in more constructive ways.
Mindfulness practice is thought to have started with Buddhism around 2,500 years ago, although many spiritual traditions have developed meditative practices that are similar.
Mindfulness might be seen as getting out of your mind and into your life. Neuroscience shows that mindfulness makes visible changes to the structure of your brain. There are over 2,000 research studies proving how effective it is. It can help to reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and help people to lead better lives.
We all know that exercise is good for us. It Improves flexibility and balance, relieves tension and stress, and can increase energy levels.
Mindful movement is using elements of mindfulness practice whilst stretching and exercising the body, becoming aware of sensations and feeling the body respond to the movements.
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About Barbara Scoltock
BACP Registered Therapist