Meditation and Mindfulness have a variety of uses. They can be a great way to relax and destress, can increase our awareness and ability to accept and can also be used to improve focus and concentration!
Mindfulness with Hilary Jones
Our Staff Wellbeing Activities Yoga Instructor, Hilary Jones, has recorded a 6 minue mindfulness and intention setting meditation session that is great for improving your focus when working from home:
A guide to Mindfulness
|What is “Mindfulness”?||
Mindfulness is a way of thinking and promoting healthy living which can reduce the risks of succumbing to negative thoughts and emotions. It is all too easy to fall into the habit of trying to cram personal, family and leisure activities amongst a repetitive routine of eat, sleep and work without stopping to enjoy or appreciate these various components.
Mindfulness can help us to notice what is going on around us. It can encourage us to enjoy the quality of our leisure time rather than merely going through the motions. We can develop the ability to appreciate the environment that we live in, the experiences that we encounter and enjoy making healthy dietary choices. A connection between mind and body can then be established which is important with regards to the relationship between positive mental well-being and physical health.
|Why is it important?||
During our working lives, we are exposed to a number of situations that have the potential to promote feelings of stress, anxiety, anger and upset. If these feelings are not adequately acknowledged or managed, they have the potential to creep into all aspects of our lives. An individual may find that their normal activities are negatively impacted upon. Risks include disturbances of sleep due to excessive worries as well as the presence of repetitive negative thoughts. Problems with sleep are also likely to create daytime fatigue and irritability which may then lead to reduced performance at work. Soon enough, the ability to enjoy our precious spare time outside of work, is jeopardised. This could also lead to suboptimal interactions with our friends and family. Living with these emotions on a day to day basis increases the risk of developing ill health as a result of depression, anxiety or physical illness. In these particular circumstances, it is important to seek advice from a health professional and not struggle alone.
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been approved by the national institute for health and care excellence (NICE) as one of the options for treating depression. There are theories linking mindfulness with stimulation of areas within the brain that are responsible for positive emotions. Aside from treating ill health, mindfulness can gradually be incorporated as a way of thinking and living which serves to promote health and wellbeing.
|What does it involve?||
NHS Choices website offers advice about how we can incorporate these techniques into our routine. Firstly, we should take notice of everyday events and occurrences in our life. We might pick a regular time of day to focus on these observations and thoughts. We may also derive benefit from putting ourselves into new situations that allow us to gain different perspectives on our surroundings. It is important to realise that mindfulness does not involve making thoughts disappear but instead acknowledging our feelings in the present moment and not fighting against them. Activities such as walking or yoga can work hand in hand with mindfulness techniques or simply help to remove the focus away from a busy mind.
|How do I develop mindful attitudes?||
Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of the centre for mindfulness in medicine, health care and society at the University of Massachusetts medical school talks about attitudes of mindfulness. Some of his introductory videos are available on the internet. A summary of the attitudes is as follows:
Further Resources and Reading
Sheffield Buddhist Centre
The Sheffield Buddhist Centre hold weekly, free meditations online, on a Friday night. Please see their website for more information. Useful talks, minfulness sessions and other videos can also be found on their YouTube channel.
Breathworks aims to help people living with pain, illness or stress to reclaim their lives through mindfulness and compassion training. Breathworks are offering an online Mindfulness Taster Session on the 25th April. Please see here for more details.