WHY LEARN TO BE MORE MINDFUL

 In the 21st century we increasingly spend more time ‘in our heads’ and we are often on ‘autopilot’. We may have lost touch with how we are using our bodies and what is going on around us. Many of us find ourselves frequently thinking about the past and worrying about the future.
Mindfulness is about learning to be more present in your life and living each moment more fully. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your body, your thoughts and what is going on around you. This can lead to a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing.

WHERE DID MINDFULNESS COME FROM AND WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE FOR IT

Mindfulness is a very ancient practice steeped in the history of various secular and non secular contemplative practices traditions. It’s most comprehensive approach is associated with Buddhism and the East but in 1975 Kornfield, Salzburg and Goldstein bought the ideas and practices to the West and founded the Insight Meditation Society (IMS)  Just 3 years later in 1978 Jon- Kabat-Zin offered the first Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme and today MBSR programmes run in more than 30 countries. Segal, Teasdale and Williams developed Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)  specifically to help people who experience repeated bouts of depression. This programme is endorsed by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) and is now offered by the NHS.
The Mindfulness for Health course was developed by Vidyamala Burch, Sona Fricker and Gary Hennessey to help people with chronic pain. It is based on MBSR, MBCT and other therapies that use a compassion approach. Mindfulness for Stress was developed later to help people who are experiencing stress associated with work, relationships, loss or other factors.
Over the past 40 years the interest and research into Mindfulness and Meditation has increased and in 2015  The Mindfulness Initiative helped an All Party Parliamentary Group produce the  Mindful Nation UK report  then in 2016 they produced Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace   Both reports use research evidence with the latter focusing on the Workplace and the former also making recommendations for use of Mindfulness in Health, Education and the Criminal Justice system, quote Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) have been shown to improve health outcomes in a wide range of clinical and non-clinical populations. Mindfulness training is associated with reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli, as well as improvements in attention and cognitive capacities. These may be some of the mechanisms by which health and wellbeing gains are made – by relating to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and events in life more skilfully, practitioners may be less drawn into unhelpful habitual reactions and more able to make good choices about how to relate to their circumstances.
Neuroscientific studies into the effects of Mindfulness indicate that it is associated with brain changes that seem to reflect improvements in attention and emotion regulation skills. The benefits of mindfulness appear to extend to relationships so that practitioners are more likely to respond compassionately to someone in need, and enjoy more satisfying personal relationships. There is also some evidence that they take more environmentally responsible decisions. As with any new field of enquiry, there is much more research to be done to understand its effects.
“The course was delivered with humour and enthusiasm. Everything was explained in an easy to understand manner. Barbara acted with empathy and understanding of each students situation. I would recommend anyone to attend a course run by Barbara.” 
 “Mindfulness is best considered an inherent human capacity akin to language acquisition; a capacity that enables people to focus on what they experience in the moment, inside themselves as well as in their environment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity and care.” 
“Barbara is an excellent teacher who delivers the course material with compassion.  She is able to relate to individuals and support them when necessary and is very aware of the topics which may be difficult for certain individuals.  Her voice is perfect for meditation as is so calm and relaxed. Barbara has been an inspiration for me and I cannot thank her enough for giving me tools to help support my pain and anxiety myself.” 
 “Barbara was excellent at using our ‘learning styles’ to help us understand easier ie visual clues/ scenarios. Barbara has a very ‘soothing voice’ and her meditations were always very relaxing. Barbara has a very positive approach even when you are finding something difficult or emotional! 
“Barbara did a wonderful job. She fedback my own comments and the comments of others really well. She was able to draw more information from us, seeming to be very in tune with us. Barbara was very open which made relating to her comfortable “

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