Meditation and Mindfulness for Wellbeing

Mindfulness is a popular technique for reducing stress and anxiety. It is also recommended in managing depression. It is easy to do and the more you practice the easier it gets. It is quite simply being aware of yourself and your surroundings in a meditative way. This allows you to focus on what is happening right now, rather than what has happened or what might happen. Mindfulness combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) creates an atmosphere of positive change and acceptance.

 

A report in the Lancet, a medical magazine, concluded that mindfulness was at least equally successful to a two year course of drug therapy for depression. Relapse rate was measured after two years. For the Mindfulness group it was 44% and for the drug therapy it was 47%. 424 adults took part in the experiment, with a random selection of half using medication and half using mindfulness training. (reported in the guardian 21st April 2015, www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/21/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy )

 

When the mind is trained to be aware of current surroundings and focus on the present, many of the stories that make us feel uncomfortable become irrelevant. One of the first steps to mindfulness can be simply listening and noticing the sights and sounds around you. While your mind is busy processing that information, it is not making up stories about the future or going over the past.

 

Mindfulness is most useful when practiced every day. It quickly becomes a habit to stay in the here and now, rather than disappear into the imaginings of the mind. Some people have expressed the concern that if they are not constantly alert to what might happen, they may be caught out. However, being alert to situations is very different to imagining them. In imagination, we are powerless to do anything except to think. In the here and now, every situation will have a number of possible actions that we can take. If we can manage the emotional aspect we will always remain able to rationally decide the best course of action on each situation. Action can also be words.

 

You could include mindfulness and meditation in your every day life to improve your health and general wellbeing.

 

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