Hello from Wellness Counseling Services!
In this newsletter, you will find a preview of our upcoming Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Seminar, which will be Saturday June 12th, 2015.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Jon Kabat Zinn, PhD an MIT educated scientist and author who researched the clinical application of mindfulness on health care and medicine. Currently, he is the founding Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Mindfulness is regarded as beneficial to both mental and physical health.
What Exactly Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is best defined as: "Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally".
Three Reasons To Start A Meditation Practice
What is Meditation?
At Wellness Counseling Services we often encourage our clients to implement a 10-20 minute daily practice of meditation since it helps cultivate mindfulness. However, one may experience mindfulness without meditation. The empirical evidence from various schools of science and healthcare on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness are staggering. Contrary to some beliefs, it has nothing to do with religion nor do people who meditate need to have a spiritual inclination.
If you are uncertain if meditation or a mindfulness practice is right for you, consider these 3 Reasons to Start a Meditation Practice:
As humans, it can be difficult to not pass judgment, yet most people are usually defensive when it is directed towards them. Judgment is the filter in which you interpret people or circumstances. It is a filter created by your thoughts, beliefs and past experiences. So who knows how accurately fair or true you interpret situations in your mind in comparison to what actually is factual?!
Meditation allows you to discern your thoughts and observe your judgments: "this is bad," "this is taking too long," "I don't like this," etc. Such judgments on situations and people will either give you peace or disrupt your peace.
Non-judgment is one of the "Foundational Attitudes" of mindfulness. Through practice you may become less judgmental, as you realize that this filter is often responsible for distress in situations, relationships or with your self-acceptance. Awareness of our self-doubt, fears and insecurities may be heightened through a mindfulness practice and this may help prevent automatic emotional reactions that typically come from our lack of awareness.
Technology has officially invaded every second of our lives. Maladaptive habits, distractions, addictions, chronic "busy-ness" are all extremely exhausting to your body and mind (insomnia anyone?). Mental detours away from the "here and now" prevent us from accessing the more calm pace that is found when we become more mindful and disconnected from our vices and devices.
Meditation is a practice that provides space for stillness. In giving yourself permission for "non-doing," you give your brain an opportunity to reboot and settle your overly worked nervous system. This in turn illicits a more calm, focused and quiet state in our usually busy and chatty brain. This state decreases our "need" for many maladaptive behaviors as we become less dependent on external stimuli for comfort.
Stillness can be likened to mental endurance. If you can endure 10-20 minutes of meditation practice, you are better equipped to endure other circumstances such as stress. With meditation you inherently begin to view unpleasant situations and emotions as waves that will eventually pass. Stillness in meditation trains your mind for stillness in otherwise uncertain or unfavorable circumstances that may be perceived as "out of our control."
Meditation may help you become more productive. Focus and attention can easily become dysregulated. Diet and lifestyle habits are also major factors. Focus and attention is a process of the prefrontal cortex of your brain. Through the focused practice of deep breathing and learning to direct your attention back to the "here and now" with the breath, regulating distractions is facilitated. Concentration and the ability to regulate distractions are often associated with our productivity.
In the end, you derive your own meaning and intention to your meditation practice, in whatever way you see fit. In spite of all the benefits documented, it is also important to approach meditation without any specific expectations. Just allow it to evolve and observe the outcome without any judgments.
Other "attitudinal shifts" will be explored at our upcoming Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction seminar, as well as guided practice and applicable exercises. Space is limited so if you are interested please reserve your spot by signing up here: MBSR SEMINAR. We will offer a family discount for more than one member of a household. Contact us for more details.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers!
Soon we plan to invite local chefs of healthy food to come and contribute to our wellness seminars. We can learn about the impact of good nutrition on our moods, emotions and general wellness.