** Please be advised that all the information below is my own opinion. I am not a doctor. If you have any questions about MBCT or any worries about the subject matter discussed, please speak to a medical professional **
Let’s start from the very beginning..
During a routine visit to my doctor in April last year, he looked at my notes and asked the big question “how are you feeling?” I told him the truth. I was ok but I wasn’t. I wouldn’t have described myself as depressed but I didn’t feel happy either. I just felt numb. We chatted for a bit about how it’s fairly common to have these feelings when you’re “between cycles”. He then explained how recent studies had shown the effectiveness of MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy). He wrote down a phone number and the title of a book explaining that out of respect for other decisions I had made, he thought it would help. The number was for an MBCT practitioner and the book was “Sane New World” by Ruby Wax.
So now it’s a year later, I’ve read that book and others beside. I’ve not spoken to that practitioner yet but that’s something I’d like to have accomplished by the end of 2015.
This is not to say I’ve found a cure. I haven’t. All I have found is something that works for me right now.
So what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an approach to managing mental health issues that is rapidly becoming more popular.
At its core, it is simply making sure that you pay more attention to the present moment, your thoughts and feelings. It means taking the time to notice the sights, sounds and smells of the world around you and reconnecting with yourself. By being more mindful, we can begin to learn how to filter out the negative thoughts as they appear rather than dwelling on them.
Often taught through an 8-week programme, studies have already shown that learning how to be more mindful can help to reduce stress and improve your mood. A study by the University of Oxford showed that the online Mindfulness course run by Be Mindful can help to reduce anxiety by 58%, depression by 57% and stress by 40%.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be looking at the different ways that you can learn to be more mindful. For now, here are some links to some excellent online resources should you want to do further research on your own.
Be Mindful – a fantastic website that includes advice on MBCT and Mindfulness as well as a directory of practitioners and an online course.
NHS Wellbeing – provides some advice on Mindfulness exercises as well as links to learning other steps for wellbeing.
Oxford Mindfulness – Information about the University of Oxford’s Mindfulness studies, courses and research.
Headspace – An app that helps you meditate for just 10 minutes a day. Great for beginners or the more experienced.
See you next week xx