Mindfulness - let it unfold
Mindfulness appears to be back in fashion. In the hippy era many a 'seeker' sought out Ashrams, desolate mountains and teachers of 'mindful practices', which often became associated with the art meditation, sitting cross-legged and repeating a mantra. Such techniques were undoubtedly helpful to many who learnt and practiced them.
However, there are many ways in which mindfulness can be equally successfully practiced, simply and developed with the practitioners' preferred thinking, learning and lifestyles in mind. Hypnotherapy and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can both contribute to the successful development of those individual practices.
Setting aside any spiritual connotations, a mindful approach will help the practitioner to pay attention to both the thoughts and the sensations in the body. This is important because a thought can stimulate physiological responses (close your eyes and imagine you are smelling, sucking and tasting a freshly picked and cut juicy lemon - what happens?) and a sensation in the body can stimulate a fear (the little leap in our heart the first time we spot an attractive person can convince us we are head over heels in love!).
The two examples given above are, some may argue, positive. It is not difficult to also imagine that equally negative thoughts might lead to negative sensations and vice versa.
One form of mindfulness, often taught to and practiced by those feeling they lack focus, possibly suffering from some form of attention deficit is to follow the following:
1. To stop and pause, paying attention to any discomfort in the body.
2. To acknowledge that discomfort is a signal that something is upsetting.
3. To process that sensation without skipping any assessment of what that might be.
4. Take time to ponder and be precise on the cause, stating it clearly and concisely.
5. Decide on what the best, most calm and effective response to settle those sensations is.
6. Take that action.
This form of approach is often called a feedback loop, because having taken the action, the loop back phase is to review the effectiveness and consequence of the action and resolve to learn and be even more mindful in the future.
CBT, enhanced with the calming and rehearsal skills taught under hypnotherapy, lends itself to helping the client gain access to their own, unique form of mindfulness quickly; it is then possible to move on further and begin to understand the long held, often no longer helpful, beliefs that can lead to some ongoing negative behaviours. The loop of learning can lead to continuous improvement - that is, it can unfold.
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