Practitioner: Annie Davison
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How can mindfulness help me?
When we are mindful, we pay deliberate attention, in the present moment, to things as they are rather than to how we wish them to be. Instead of ruminating on the past, which we can’t change, or worrying about the future about things that may or may never happen, mindfulness keeps us grounded in the here and now. This is helpful for the important reason that it is only in the present moment that we have an immediate choice about how to respond.
Far too often, we spend our days on automatic pilot, not really attuned to what is going on in our minds, hearts and bodies. We can become accustomed to thinking and feeling in certain ways out of habit. Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as they are right here, right now. By learning to focus on these, we become better equipped to spot the build-up of stress and other difficult emotions. So, instead of subjecting ourselves to the endlessly looping tape of our thoughts and feelings, mindfulness enables us to pause.
When we pause, we give ourselves the space and time to see that there may be other ways to think about situations. Most importantly, we may come to realise, on a deep level, that thoughts are only mental events. Thoughts are not facts and we have a choice about whether to give them power over our minds and hearts. This shift can be very liberating, giving people a sense of possibilities and choices about how to respond to old patterns of thinking and acting. This can empower people to make changes in their lives.
With the support of your mindfulness teacher, you will learn various mindfulness practices as well as ways to bring mindfulness and awareness into the everyday activities of your life. These practices may help you to:
- tune in to the present moment
- become more aware of body sensations, feelings and thoughts from moment to moment
- learn different ways of relating to sensations, thoughts and feelings
- recognise your habitual patterns of thinking, mood and feelings so that you can move out of autopilot mode and be more aware of your reactions
- increase your compassion and kindness towards yourself and others