Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept, which focuses on encouraging and nurturing a healthy mind in todays busy world. As John Kabat-Zin the founder of Mindfulness says, mindfulness is about “paying attention in the moment”, whilst being non-judgemental of yourself.
A lot of us have busy minds, with scientific research showing that negative emotions lower immunity, causing metabolic changes and disruption to the nervous system.
- The sympathetic nervous system – being situated in the right hemisphere of the brain, is where negative thoughts and emotions occur.
- The parasympathetic nervous system – being situated in the left hemisphere of the brain, is where positive thoughts occur.
Mindfulness supports us in slowing our busy minds down by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system.
A few examples of areas mindfulness is proven beneficial:
- Helps improve relaxation and wellbeing.
- Aids in reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Improves sleep.
- Reduces pain.
I fully acknowledge that each persons experience of mindfulness is different, but I hope you find my description of what my practice of mindfulness is helpful.
I turn my focus inwards, paying attention to each breath in the moment as I take it, allowing my thoughts to ‘free flow’ and ‘float away’.
By doing this I start to become aware of myself and tune in to what I am sensing in the ‘here and now’ in my body, in the environment around me, what feelings I am experiencing and what my fleeting thoughts may be. I am almost an observer of myself.
As I continue to concentrate on my breathing I am very often aware that my mind has a continuous urge to ‘wander’, getting ‘pulled’ back into thinking.
However through on-going practice I know being mindful is about coming back to my breathing every time my mind ‘pulls’ or ‘wanders’ away and this is what I do – a lot!
I use guided mindfulness meditation, which helps to keep me focused and through engaging in this repetitious practice, even for a few minutes at a time, my mind slows down, I ‘ground’ and feel more relaxed.
Founded by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, NLP describes the dynamics between the three most influential components involved in producing human behavioural patterns and competence.
- Neuro (mind) – means the neurological or nervous system, which regulates how our bodies actually work.
- Linguistic – is the language and way we speak that determines how we communicate with other people.
- Programming – is how we establish the representations of the world we create at a subconscious level. This subconscious level, or “control room”, is where we store and hold all the memories of our lives. It is at this level we work with positive reframing techniques, using visualisation, kinaesthetic and auditory sensory indicators as positive reinforcement from what was “modelled” in past successful experiences.
Thoughts, feelings and behaviours affect our daily ability to lead our lives, producing within us a myriad of emotions, both positive and negative.
NLP is a this three-way interaction based on finding satisfactory outcomes not defined solely by behaviour, but giving thought to flexibility within behaviour, in order to create an alternative way of looking at a situation.
In acknowledging the underlying principle of NLP that each person is in charge of their minds and therefore their own lives enables changes to be made.
- Do you feel as though your confidence is easily knocked?
- Have you lost your motivation?
- Do you want to have as much fun as others around you have?
- Do you want to discover any underlying fears that may be holding you back?
- Would you like to have a better understanding of the goals you want to achieve? Would you like to change your negative feelings into positive ones?
Reframing, used as a technique within NLP, creates a different narrative or way of looking at a situation, person or relationship, thereby changing the meaning of the original narrative.
From this slightly different perspective, you can grow your inner confidence, work towards re-building your self-belief and achieving your goals in a positive way, so that you are able to make and maintain the positive changes you desire.
Sometimes it helps the therapeutic process, when trying to make sense of problems, to use creative methods of working.
These are some of the methods I work with:
- Animals in therapy.
- Mood cards.
- Russian (Matryoshka) nesting dolls.