Mindfulness in London
When you consider that London now ranks as one of the most stressed-out cities in the world, it’s easy to see why the practice of mindfulness in London is becoming so popular.
Mindfulness is based on very ancient Buddhist meditation principles. Mindfulness however is completely non-religious, and requires no particular spiritual belief or cultural context for the practitioner.
The adaptation of the original traditions of meditation into the practical and teachable system of mindfulness is mainly due to the tireless work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. His description of the practice is at once beautiful and simple:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:
On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally”
So how can this help us with distressing conditions such as depression and anxiety?
We tend to spend much of our time ‘in our heads’ with our thoughts. We ascribe great meaning and weight to this continuous, random stream of constant thoughts, and by accepting these thoughts as ‘truth’ or ‘fact’, we allow them to create the negative emotions that trouble us.
Through practicing mindfulness, we can learn to ‘separate’ ourselves from these thoughts, and in this way minimise any upsetting effects that these thoughts can cause us. During mindfulness training, we exercise our mind ‘muscle’, increasing our ability to concentrate and to focus on the present moment.
Through great parts of our day we are not really ‘present’, but simply working on ‘Auto-Pilot’. Even with complicated tasks such as driving a car, we can suddenly find ourselves with huge gaps in our awareness of what we’ve been doing. How many of us arrive at a destination without remembering exactly how we got there? And the many times we might have reached the end of a page in a book and have no knowledge at all of what it is we’ve just read!
The human mind is habitually distracted by our thoughts, and we will switch ceaselessly between thoughts about the past and thoughts about the future. This process can sometimes result in feelings of anxiety and depression as we might be continually going over past events that have caused us distress, and of course as there is nothing that we can do to change these events, this constant rumination may cause us to become increasingly distressed and helpless.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
Our thoughts about the future may tend to focus on all the ‘what ifs’ and things that we fear could go wrong. Again, the result is likely to be distress and anguish as we are attempting to deal with something that not only hasn’t even happened yet, but that we have for the most part just simply invented.
Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn to recognise our thoughts as just thoughts, and not facts. We can become more aware of our thoughts as they arise, and by learning to accept them non-judgementally, we can begin to separate ourselves from the potential negative effects that they can cause when unchecked.
The techniques that are taught through Hypnowellness have been developed personally by me in collaboration with BABCP-accredited therapist Lorna Vincent PG CertCBT, PG DipCBT, and are based on our own experiences of various mindfulness models and meditative approaches. They have been specially adapted to be learned easily and quickly, and to begin to provide rapid benefits to the user. Although derived from similar sources, our techniques differ in content and method from the MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) and MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) courses offered through the NHS and other bodies.
When appropriate, mindfulness techniques and ideas will very often form part of my general therapeutic approach. I also provide specific mindfulness in London training sessions in my Highgate practice in North London and my East London practice in South Woodford; as well as in the City of London and Radlett in Herts.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Hypnowellness mindfulness approach, or learn more about how mindfulness in London can help with increasing the ability to focus and concentrate as well as minimise the effects of anxiety and depression, please get in touch now.