Mental Health Week - Mindfullness

Mindfulness is training that helps people to non-judgementally relate to their experiences with kindness and curiosity. Rather than viewing thoughts as facts people can begin to see these as passing events in their mind and body. This allows people can step out of there habitual patterns of acting and having more choices how to respond - especially stressful experiences. It is recommended as a treatment for people with mental health problems and also for people who want to improve their general mental wellbeing

Many people find it hard to cope with the pressures of modern living. Every day, a quarter of a million people miss work because of stress, it has been estimated that up to 75% of all illness are related to stress.

Ryan Askey-Jones is a mindfulness expert and works in Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trusts First Step service he explains:

“Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

“Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain.”

Although mindfulness is not currently available from the NHS in Cumbria there are many online courses and books that give a full range of courses. Ryan explained that anyone can benefit from practicing mindfulness:

“Mindfulness can be practiced by anyone from young children right through to adults. Although mindfulness is recommended as a treatment for people with mental ill-health it is also a valuable tool for anyone to use to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

There are different ways to practice mindfulness including group sessions and online courses to support self-directed practice at home.” 

There are also different sorts of mindfulness meditation which can help people in different ways. Evidence shows compelling support for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which helps people to cope with stress, and for Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which is designed to help people with recurring depression.

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