15 Nov Mindfulness Meditation – Reasons to commit to an 8 week course!
Stress is a constant unwanted companion for most of us living in the Western world today. Too much striving for a ‘good and successful life’ in an ever increasing busy, competitive world, has done little, other than having fuelled our body’s biochemical production of cortisol and adrenalin – the activation of our body’s Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) – otherwise known as the ‘fight/flight/please/freeze’ response.
This SNS response is beneficial for we humans in times of acute stress, i.e. fleeing from tigers or fleeing from attackers, but unfortunately for many of us now live in a permanent (low/medium/high) chronic state of SNS arousal. The SNS system is now often always ‘ON’. This is not healthy!
This heightened sense of arousal and activation of our SNS creates a host of problems for us including, depleted energy levels, emotional issues, anxiety, illness, allergies and a host of other maladies. We learn to react on autopilot and often the reaction is not always the appropriate one for the situation.
The balance to the SNS is the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Its function is to calm the body and it is involved in healing. The PNS is often called the ‘rest and digest’ system. It cannot work properly if the SNS is overworking and thus healing can be delayed and illness can flourish as immune and digestive systems are thwarted.
How can we address this?
Mindfulness Meditation is a secular form of meditation that often has been adapted from Buddhist Insight meditation traditions, but in reality all religions have a history of varying forms of meditation and mindfulness. Now science is researching the effects of mindfulness training and many studies have demonstrated mindfulness meditation’s effectiveness to help us cope with a busy life and also to assist with living with many chronic illnesses and pain. Mindfulness Meditation has been found to improve symptoms related to problems like anxiety, depression, allergies, skin conditions, chronic pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, asthma etc.
To the uninitiated meditation has been often erroneously thought of as being a practice where thoughts are stopped. As this is almost impossible, most of us give up feeling like failures. But the good news is that mindfulness meditation is really just exercising the mind. The more you practice the better you get at it. Everybody knows that to increase a muscle’s size and strength you need to practice over and over and nobody has run a marathon without training. So it is for meditation, you have to practice to improve your meditation strength and endurance…
It is worth remembering these facts:
- Nobody can meditate incorrectly and nobody can meditate perfectly…so we all can benefit and there are no failures other than the failure to practice.
- Some days meditation will flow easily and other days our minds will be so agitated that meditation will seem almost impossible…no matter your meditation experience level…there will always be hard days.
- Meditation does NOT always make you feel happy and relaxed. Sometimes it does! Other times it will allow feelings or sensations of disquiet and unpleasantness to surface. Meditation is about learning to be equanimous with whatever shows up and just stay with the feelings without judgement.
Mindfulness Meditation courses train the brain over an 8 week period with an ever expanding series of simple practical techniques/exercises; coupled with education regarding the way mindfulness changes the brain (neuroplasticity) and how the body and the mind work together to form a mind-body connection.
Understanding how mindfulness and our mind-body connection affects our health, coupled with a graduated series of exercises to delve deeper into the mindfulness practice, gives a great framework to help nurture the mindfulness newcomer.
After an 8 week Mindfulness Meditation course the participant should be adept enough to continue the practice on their own and will have a skill for life to help them navigate through a stressful world.
Watch the YouTube video explaining how meditation benefits the brain from Dr Dan Siegal, an expert in Mindfulness research.
Like with an exercise class, if you don’t practice the muscle etc gets weaker again, but it is always easier each time you return to the practice after a break as the mind retains a memory circuit from the initial training.
Of course there are many ways to help keep up the practice after an 8 week course. Individual daily practice is almost mandatory, but using mindfulness meditation recordings can help keep this fresh if self meditation is difficult or gets boring. Attending a regular group practice with people in your local area can be great, as can attending short mindfulness meditation retreats. Sometimes attending refresher courses of the 8 week course can give an added boost to the depth of your practice and understanding.
Mindfulness Meditation is a new way of looking and dealing/interacting with the world. It teaches you to respond not to react. It re-teaches us a skill we have lost as our world becomes more demanding.
During an 8 week course I tell the participants to practice regularly throughout the course, even if they think it is not doing anything and try to suspend judgement until after the 8 weeks. Commit to the practice and then decide after 8 weeks if it is worth pursuing.
I am running 8 week classes in early 2017. See details below:
8 WEEK MINDFULNESS MEDITATION COURSES
Join me for an 8 week Mindfulness meditation course:
Sydney CBD: From Wednesday 1st February to 22nd March, 2017. 6-8pm.
Location: Quay Health, level 6, 10 Bridge St, Sydney.
Call to book: Quay Health: 9252 2825 or
Book online: https://quayhealth-com-au.cliniko.com/bookings
North Sydney: Thursday 2nd February to 23rd March, 2017. 6-8pm
Location: Back in Business Physiotherapy, level 2, 107 Walker St, North Sydney.
To book email: firstname.lastname@example.org