Mindfulness is the simple, yet profound art of noticing the many incredible aspects of our experiences in each moment. Cultivating our mindfulness practice can enhance our lives as well as helping us to cope with difficulties when these arise.
Much of the time we are not actually in the present moment, but are caught up in thinking about what is happening, has happened in the past or might happen in the future. While this ability to think about our experiences is an essential part of what it means to be human, getting caught up in thought can be problematic, particularly if these thoughts are negative and/or self-critical.
Through practising mindfulness we increase our awareness of all aspects of our experience, including our thoughts and how these can affect how we feel and what we do. There are times when we can all find ourselves on automatic pilot, doing something without fully noticing. This can contribute to us reacting in unhelpful ways, which may be self-limiting or self-defeating, and mindfulness can help us to respond to these experiences more effectively. Beneath the waves of our difficult experiences we can connect with the breath and a greater sense of calmness and clarity. As Jon Kabat-Zinn has said “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”.
Joining a mindfulness course can enhance well-being, help cope with stress and improve mood.
The course I offer is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which was developed by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale with the intention of reducing the likelihood of relapse into depression. It is an adaption of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, which he began developing in 1979 for people with chronic medical conditions. Alongside the mindfulness practices the MBCT course includes exercises drawn from cognitive behavioural therapy, specifically to help us recognise the patterns of our minds and through this process become more able to respond to our experiences with compassion and kindness.
In addition to helping people cope with long-term health conditions and reducing the likelihood of relapse into depression, practising mindfulness can also enable each of us to manage stressful experiences more effectively and to respond rather than react to the challenges and difficulties that we can encounter as part of our daily lives.
Details of the eight-week course:
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is an eight week programme and is suitable for anyone who would like to experience the benefits of cultivating a mindfulness practice. Each session is for two hours and mindfulness practices are introduced and practised in session together, before participants then continue to do so at home. Home practice is an integral part of the course and each group member is encouraged to commit to 45 minutes of practice on a daily basis.
The cost of the course is £220, which includes eight evenings and a practice day, plus handouts and access to downloadable audio recordings of the guided mindfulness practices.
The next course is scheduled to commence on 9th September 2019 and will take place over 8 consecutive Monday evenings, 7-9pm, until 28th October, with a practice day 10am-4pm on 19th October.
Mindfulness courses take place in the beautiful studio at Sarpenela Natural Therapies Centre, Farnham, Blandford, Dorset, DT11 8DG, which is easily accessible from Blandford, Shaftesbury, Salisbury, Wimborne, Verwood, Ringwood, throughout Dorset and the borders of Hampshire and Wiltshire.
Courses can also take place in accessible locations in other East Dorset villages, 7-9pm for eight weeks, on the most convenient evening for participants. Courses will usually start in February, May and September.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries and to book a place on a course. If you are interested in joining a course but are unable to come on the planned dates, do get in touch as it may be possible to arrange courses on different days and at alternative times.
Further to completing an eight week course there will be the opportunity to join ongoing mindfulness practice meetings, which take place once a month on Monday evenings at Sarpenela and Wednesday evenings in Poole, and future practice days as part of sustaining your mindfulness practice.