You might have wondered about why mindfulness can be wise good choice to either enhance your life or to treat an existing condition. If you struggled with long standing anxiety/stress/worry for years or perhaps your entire life and you tried various treatments you might have come across mindfulness. Equally, you might have heard about this because you're interested in meditation or the #slowliving movement.
You can hear a bit more about my mindfulness journey here.
So what makes mindfulness so special? First of all, mindfulness comes in many shapes and sizes - and all of them come with their own abbreviation letters. Fun, ha?
I am not aiming to go through all of these in this post, but would like to explain a bit more about the most common ones.
Take MBCT for instance - mindfulness based cognitive therapy. This is the type of mindfulness I teach, as it has roots in mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (made sense as I am a CBT therapist after all). The curriculum is very similar to what is taught in MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction), however MBCT involves looking at the vicious cycle of thinking and what actions we can take to tackle this.
Another interesting area of mindfulness is MBCP - mindful childbirth and parenting. Something I would like to understand more about, having personally benefitted from the techniques.
Let's get back to the original question of what makes mindfulness so special and why and when is it a good fit?
Imagine a school which has two classes available for your kid/s. They both have the same amount of spaces available, the only difference is who teaches these classes. One teacher (let's call him or her "teacher A") offers good learning outcomes, meeting their targets, but this is achieved in a way which comes across as strict, doesn't allow time for individual needs, doesn't allow for spontaneity and flexibility and strictly follows what's been prescribed by the curriculum. There is not much free time, the homework tasks are never ending, and there are always red flags around - marking things that haven't been achieved and the focus is on the negatives.
Now, let's look at the other class teacher - (teacher B). This teacher also achieves good outcomes, which are fairly consistent, but it's a little bit up and down. Overall, the targets are met but some take longer than others. The way this teacher operates is with a lot of kindness. Offering warmth, acceptance - no matter who you are - and flexibility. Recognises when someone is struggling and responds appropriately. Follows the curriculum but at the same time, he/she knows that sometimes things cannot be measured. There is free time and not much homework. But there is security and love, focusing a lot on what's already there and building from achievements.
Can I ask you a question?
Which class/teacher would you choose for your child/children? And why?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
p.s. I know you figured this out already, but just to be clear - mindfulness is a lot like teacher B. It operates on the idea that everything is invitational. And you are invited to take part in these practices where there is a lot of kindness and love, and not a lot of measuring and comparing.
Imagine how nice it would be to live your life with the teacher B around in your mind. Instead of being strict and harsh, you would have your mind on your side, genuinely cheering for you.