Anxiety, unhappiness and stress are very often symptoms of how we relate to ourselves, the world and each other. Life is becoming increasingly busy and with all that is happening around the world, it’s completely understandable how feelings of anxiety and depression can quickly take hold. Therefore, it is important to try and stay as positive as possible and be as proactive about our health, both mental and physical, as we can and it seems that engaging in mindfulness therapy in London or your local area could prove to be particularly beneficial when it comes to managing your emotions. It is far easier to look after our physical health, since we have been taught in school and at home how important it is to have, for example, a well balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep… you know the drill. However, when it comes to our mental health we can hit a bit of a stumbling block. The usual telltale signs that our physical health needs attention, such as putting on weight or perhaps dark circles under the eyes, are not as prevalent when it comes to our mental health. So, where do we begin? A new study, carried out by researchers in China, has discovered that just one week of mindful meditation could be enough to affect our psychological well-being in a positive way. College students were gathered to participate in either a mindfulness meditation group or an emotion regulation education group. The former was based on core concepts of Vipassana breath meditation and mindfulness, as well as practical experience of the researchers and scientific reports looking into meditation. Students had to close their eyes, relax and focus on their breathing, acknowledging thoughts as they surfaced but then letting them go by bringing their attention back to their breath. The emotion regulation group, meanwhile, attended a lecture on the first day of the trial, instructing them on how to recognise and regulate emotions. They then had to practice on their own for 15 minutes a day for a week. It was found that those in the meditation group were better at emotional processing after a week, displaying better emotional memory and proving themselves less likely to pay attention to negative thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness practice has been growing in popularity over the last few years helping many people take control of their own emotions and, therefore, their lives. The practice involves bringing your attention to thoughts, feelings and emotions in the present moment without judgement through meditation and mindfulness exercises. In a therapeutic environment, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are used to treat a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, panic attacks, stress, recurrent depression, grief, workplace stress, relationship breakdowns and more. We all know that to strengthen our body and keep fit we need to work at it, either in the gym, or swimming or any sporting activity. It's just the same with our mental health – the more we practice mindfulness exercises, both formal and informal, the more we will reap the benefits. It’s like a workout for the mind. There are many mindfulness-based courses and therapy programmes on offer in London or your local area with Discover Mindfulness - a two-hour workshop offering an introduction to mindfulness practice and its benefits to health and wel-lbeing, run by The Mindful Therapist. If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness-based therapies or training and how it could benefit you, get in touch with Alex today.
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