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Mindfulness – what’s it all about?

Mindfulness - what's it all about?

Earlier on this year I took an 8 week mindfulness course in Guildford. Some of the other mums I know had done it and raved about it, so I thought why not, let’s see what it’s all about.

Well, 8 weeks later and after much practising I can honestly say it has helped me.

Firstly by staying focused on the present I find I don’t worry so much. I don’t get dragged into either past events that have gone or future events that may or may not pan out as much as I used to.

Also, as life does, it throws a few high stress moments at you and I found I handled them with much much more calmness and my nerves weren’t frayed either.

So for me the Mindfulness is really useful … So why not give it a try and see what it can do for you.

Below is a more technical article that I found in one of our recent physio journals so that may help you understand a little bit more about it from a scientific point of view.

Best wishes for the New Year!

Julie

An excerpt from the Frontline magazine, February 2016

Mindfulness is a way of ‘being’. It is a basic human quality of awareness. It can be which can be described as:

  • paying attention (learning to focus on what you choose)
  • in the present moment (rather than the past or future)
  • non-reactively (learning to ‘respond’ rather than ‘react’)
  • non-judgementally (learning to see things as they are)
  • open heartedly (bringing qualities of warmth, compassion curiosity and acceptance to your experience)

How might it work?

Mindfulness practices are a form of brain training. Regular practice is linked to changes in areas of the brain responsible for mood regulation and reactions which in turn link to bodily functions like breathing, heart rate and immunity (Campbell collaboration 2012:3).

What is the evidence for stress reduction in healthy individuals?

Most of the published research relates to mindfulness as it is taught in eight sessions held over two months – either in the form of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

MBSR is of particular interest in relation to supporting staff resilience and stress management. In a Campbell Systematic Review, de Vibe et al evaluated the effect of MBSR on health, quality of life and social functioning in adults.

They concluded: ‘There is moderate to high quality evidence for a consistent and moderately large effect of MBSR … While MBSR clearly alleviated symptoms of stress and distress, it also had effects on measures of personal development and quality of life.’ The authors support the use of MBSR for stress management.

Why is mindfulness relevant to physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists, like many people experience high levels of stress at work. This approach can help us to manage stress and its impact on our wellbeing and clinical effectiveness.

For our patients, mindfulness approaches are asset-based with a focus on self-awareness, working with what is there, managing thoughts, emotions and physical sensations, and making wise choices about how best to take care of yourself. They actively support increased self-efficacy.

This article was written by Karen Glass. (A practice development physiotherapist with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and is a member of the charity Mindfulness Scotland)

Key reference documents

Useful websites and resources

  • www.wisebrain.org
  • www.mindfulnessscotland.org.uk
  • www.freemindfulness.org
  • www.mindful.org

Explore YouTube videos

  • Jon Kabat Zinn
  • Professor Mark Williams’ meditations
  • Professor Richard Davidson

Recommended books

  • Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Mindfulness for Dummies by Shamash Alidina
  • Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
  • You are Not your Pain by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman
  • The Mindful Workplace by Michael Chaskalson