So you’ve obviously become aware of this Mindfulness craze sweeping the world? But what is Mindfulness? How could it benefit you?

Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation which has become increasingly popular in the west due to discoveries about the mind-body connection in health and illness in the last 25-30 years. In that time, researchers have discovered that the mind and the body are intimately connected. It is now known that thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and stress all have a significant impact on health and illness.
Mindfulness’ roots lie in Buddhism and it has been made applicable for general use through the work of pioneers of using meditation for health care purposes such as Jon Kabut-Zinn. He has promoted mindfulness - as a secular practice accessible to anyone - through his highly acclaimed and evidence based stress reduction programme used in medical centres across the world to help people deal with the stress of modern day living, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
Mindfulness is a tool individuals can learn to use for themselves to promote their own health and well-being. Research has shown that individuals who learn and practice these skills daily are likely to have a better health outcome than those who do not. In particular, research has shown that the ability to concentrate attention can promote deep relaxation in the body, and that the ability to be more mindful in each situation can help break the destructive habitual reactions to stress.
Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention, moment to moment to one’s experience, fostering an attitude of gentle curiosity and compassion.
It is an adaptable tool which can be practised anytime and anywhere, says Danny Penman, author of Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.
To practise mindfulness, says Penman, a person must focus on what is happening inside their body and mind in real time - a technique that Penman refers to as "full conscious awareness".
Try this simple exercise right now - sit upright in your chair, close your eyes if that feels comfortable, and focus on the sensations that your breath makes as it flows into and out of your body, just follow your breath. As your mind begins to chase after different thoughts, bring your awareness back to the sensations of the breath. You’ll need to do this continuously as the mind will constantly wander even if you are a practiced meditator! This is totally normal, it’s just what minds do, we simply need to keep bringing the attention back. After a few breaths open your eyes and just see how you feel. Do you feel a little more relaxed? Perhaps you feel frustrated because you couldn't concentrate? Did you become aware you were tired/in pain/anxious? It doesn't actually matter what you felt or thought, just that you noticed that. Mindfulness puts us more in touch with how we are right now and allows us to make choices based on that knowledge.

I think these couple of poems capture the essence of Mindfulness:

Dreaming the Real

I’m lying down looking at the colour

of sky falling through trees, dreaming

the real, tasting what it feels like to love it.

Why did it take me so long to let go, simply

exhale, so the day could breathe itself in

and open without me standing in the way?

How could I forget the grace of my own body

strong as this blue, tender as the white

of the wild blossom, warm as midday light?

Let me practice a patience bold enough

to hold every weather, trusting the elements,

the beauty of rain, all it shades of grey.

I want whatever’s real to be enough. At least

it’s a place to begin. And to master the art

of loving it; feel it love me back under my skin

Linda France


I go among trees and sit still.

All my stirring becomes quiet

around me like circles on water.

My tasks lie in their places

where I left them, asleep like cattle.


Then what is afraid of me comes

and lives a while in my sight.

What it fears in me leaves me,

and the fear of me leaves it.

It sings, and I hear its song.


Then what I am afraid of comes.

I live for a while in its sight.

What I fear in it leaves it,

and the fear of it leaves me.

It sings, and I hear its song.


After days of labor,

mute in my consternations,

I hear my song at last,

and I sing it. As we sing,

the day turns, the trees move.

Wendell Berry


If you’d like to find out more why not come along to an Introductory Session in Abergavenny or Crickhowell on September 6th. If you find you enjoy it there is a full 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course starting on September 20th.

I also offer the full 8 Week Course on an individual basis at my home in Walterstone, and via skype or phone.

I also offers one to one Mindfulness sessions in Walterstone where you can learn the basics, or talk through deepening an existing practice or challenges you are experiencing with your practice.
For further details contact Tina at tinaabbottcounselling@gmail.com or on 07778 036024 or find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tinaabbott4   Like my page and you will receive regular updates.

Please note Monday to Friday I will respond to your email with 36-48 hours, if I do not respond to you within this timeframe I may not have received your email or vice versa-do email me again or give me a call. If I am unavailable my out of office will be on. If you email me over a weekend I will get back to you on a Monday.  

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