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JOURNAL

Q&A: What Is Mindfulness?

4 min read
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Mindfulness is the focussing of one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. At Heal, we like to think of mindfulness practice as a workout for the mind, just as going to the gym is a workout for the body.

Let's take a look at some of the most common questions asked about Mindfulness.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me?

Practicing mindfulness can give you a deeper insight into your thoughts, feelings and emotions and how they all interact. It can help boost attention and concentration, increase productivity and enhance creativity. In a therapeutic setting it is used to help people with stress, anxiety, recurrent depression and chronic pain as part of the MBSR and MBCT programmes. Further research has show mindfulness has positive effects on various other conditions such as addiction, eating disorders and grief.

How Long Does It Take To Get Results?

As with physical exercise you need to ‘put the time in’ to reap the benefits. Starting with ten minutes of mindfulness practice a day can make a real difference and start you on your journey.

How Do I Practice Mindfulness?

You can begin to practice mindfulness by bringing attention to simple everyday activities. For example, start by drinking a cup of tea or coffee mindfully, feeling the warmth of the cup, really experiencing the taste and aromas, paying attention to each sip and the sensations in the mouth as you drink. As soon as your mind starts to wander away from the focus of drinking to perhaps what you have to do later in the day, or something somebody said to you yesterday, gently bring your attention back to drinking, back to the present moment, the only moment we actually have.

Another mindfulness practice you can try is to sit and focus on your breath, a technique that is taught across all mindfulness programmes. In a similar way to the mindful drinking exercise above we focus our attention on the breath as it moves in and out of the body. Again, sooner or later the mind will wander away from the focus on the breath to thoughts, planning and daydreaming. When you discover the mind is no longer with the breath gently and kindly reconnect with the breath as the focus of your attention.

Please feel free to access this free recorded mindfulness meditation - 'A Short Meditation On The Breath' if you would like to experience a ‘formal’ meditation practice.

Where Can I Practice Mindfulness?

You don't need a special place to practice mindfulness. When you are taking formal meditations like the body scan or longer guided sitting meditations you might prefer to find a quiet space to do so. However, you can practice whilst on the bus with headphones, or perhaps, one of my favourites, doing a sounds meditation in the park. In addition, informal mindfulness practices such as mindful eating and walking can be woven into your daily routines.

Are Mindfulness And Yoga Similar?

Mindfulness and Yoga are intrinsically linked as they both involve an awareness of the body . Yoga can be thought of as mindful movement through a sequence of postures and poses whilst focussing on the breath as an anchor at times when the mind wanders to thoughts like fatigue or frustration. Yoga is bathed in philosophy and a gentle version of it forms an important part of both the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programmes.

Is Mindfulness A Religion?

Mindfulness is not a religion. Its roots are in various religious and spiritual traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism however the western therapeutic and scientific approach is secular.

Why Can't I Stop My Mind Wandering?

A common misconception people have about mindfulness meditation is that the desired outcome is to 'clear’ the mind of thoughts. During any meditation sitting, sooner or later you will find your mind wanders away from the focus of the breath and becomes consumed in future events or maybe recalling past events and getting carried away by memories and feelings about the past. Mindfulness meditation is not about stopping your mind from wandering, because that’s what minds do, but when you notice it has wandered, simply and affectionately noting what’s on your mind in that moment and bringing your attention back to the breath. If the mind wanders 100 times, the task is to simply bring the focus of your attention back to the breath 100 times. Gently, kindly and compassionately and in no way criticising or judging yourself.

Quit Smoking Now
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5 MONTHS A NON-SMOKER

I had wanted to give up for ages but always failed until I came across this treatment.

Before treatment my day was geared around when I was going to have a cigarette and I would rush home sometimes to have one or rearrange my day around them. I only smoked when I was alone as I felt ashamed and the smell upset others. I can honestly say that the Stop-in-seven treatment was excellent and the support wonderfully reassuring. It was all encompassing about how one was making oneself ill but also encouraging about how much better one would feel after giving up. One of the hardest aspects of the week was when we had to change the brand of cigarette. Oh how I craved for my own brand of cigarette I had smoked for 30 years. As I write this I think I can now call myself a non-smoker and it is amazing I have given up. I had wanted to give up for ages but always failed until I came across this treatment. Physically I don’t cough anymore and I can smell better and am eating healthier and enjoying it more. Emotionally I feel stronger clearer and realise I am proud of myself for eventually stopping the habit which I never thought I would. I would recommend Stop-in7 treatment to anyone trying to stop smoking. It is well organised extremely supportive and it works. Thank you.

Gill, Brighton
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6 WeEKS A NON-SMOKER

I have tried various methods including hypnosis sessions previously, but to no avail.

Alex, I just wanted to take a moment to contact you. Since taking your Stop Smoking course It’s been a revelation ! It’s not even like I am an ex-smoker… I am a NON SMOKER ! I literally have not had a single thought about wanting to have a smoke ! For years on and off I have stopped and started again.. The lead up to the main event and the fact that the videos are available after the main session have proven to be just what is needed ! I have tried various methods including hypnosis sessions previously, but to no avail. So I just wanted to say a big thank you from me and my wife.

Peter, Hartford
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Heal’s online Stop-In-7 Smoking Cessation Treatment Plan is expertly curated and accessible from the comfort of your own home, without the need for face-to-face therapy.

Combining techniques from Hypnotherapy, C.B.T, and Mindfulness-based therapies, this 7 day course provides you with — and guides you through — everything you need to break through your habit and stop smoking once and for all.

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