Mindfulness for Stress
We can't always choose what happens to us, or how other people behave, but we can learn how to have more choice in how we respond to life's events. An effective way to change our reactions to unpleasant events is to retrain the brain using mindful techniques.
The Breathworks Mindfulness for Stress course is an 8 week course designed to help us to cope better with the stress and anxiety we experience in life. The course looks at a different ways in which mindfulness helps us to reduce stress and anxiety and each week you gradually develop your ability to be more aware of your present moment experience. We learn how to deal with all of our experience, without resisting the unpleasant aspects or grasping on to the pleasant aspects. This is an important skill to learn as it can help to reduce suffering, anxiety and stress. This course is usually offered in 4 double sessions as a group course and can be taken in this format on an individual basis, but for those individuals who wish to meet weekly the course will take place over 8 single sessions.
While undertaking the course you will be introduced to meditation practice, which is the formal practice proven to help the brain rewire itself. Through meditation practice we learn to become more aware of what is going on, focusing our awareness on the direct sensory experiences of the body which brings us back to the present moment. This means that over time you are able to respond to situations in a more constructive way, rather than habitual, knee jerk reactions to events. The meditations last for 10 to 20 minutes and by undertaking the course you commit to carrying out a meditation practice twice daily. The aim of meditation isn't to prevent the mind wandering - it will do so repeatedly - but to learn to check in to our experiences. With practice it is possible to become more aware of what is happening in the present moment and our ability to remain focused increases.
There are also practical home exercises that introduce ways to extend mindfulness into your daily activities, supporting your meditation practice and reinforcing the learning from each class. This might include doing one thing mindfully, for example taking a shower or boiling a kettle, enabling mindfulness to become part of daily life.
By learning how to develop creative responses to life's events we learn not to be overwhelmed by difficulties but live more steadily through life's ups and downs. An important aspect of mindfulness is its warmth, kindness and compassion and we explore how to develop self compassion and kindness before extending this out to others. During the latter part of the course we learn these skills and practice them, as kindness and compassion develops our sense of connection to others and this has been shown to be effective in reducing stress.
If you would like to learn more about the course you can read further information here:
By the end of the course you will have built a range of practices into your life which will help to sustain your well being and stress resilience.
The course is not "counselling" or therapy although in a supportive environment you will learn how better to deal with your own personal difficulties. The course is not suitable for those in the acute stages of mental health problems. If you are unsure whether or not the course is suitable for you, please contact me to discuss your situation.
All the materials you will require are supplied at the beginning of the course including the course workbook and CDs.
For the 4 session course we meet every fortnight and you will learn one week of the course, including the home practices, in the first half of the session and the next week during the second half of the session. You then return home to put into practice the first week's content learned during the class and as guided by the workbook and the use of the CDs/MP3s supplied. I shall then email or ring you on the second weekend to remind you of the next week of the course and the practices you need to follow. If at any time you are confused or worried about your progress you can call or email me to discuss the issues you are having. When we meet after two weeks you will have the opportunity to discuss how your home practice went and share any insights you wish to with the others in the group.
I offer a concessionary rate for courses at my discretion for those receiving benefits or on low wages. Please Contact Me for details.
Following completion of the course there are monthly meditation classes run on a drop in basis to support your ongoing practice and a month after completion of the course there will be another session where you can share your experiences and gain further support and assistance if needed.