How mindfulness can help with your mental health

Melaina Welland is a Bognor Regis based therapist and mindfulness practitioner.

Image by Renata Hille from Pixabay

Mental health is an important subject and one I am passionate about.

Depression, stress and anxiety have risen in alarming numbers over recent years and many have tried various ways to escape the constant stream of thoughts and worries. After working as a therapist for more than 20 years, I felt drawn to find a way to help.

Mindfulness

That’s when I discovered mindfulness. Mindfulness training changed my life and the way I look at things. What I’ve learnt and put into practice helped me turn the volume down on my thoughts and stop them from controlling my life.

My desire was to share these life-transforming tools, teaching and promoting mental and emotional well-being. Anyone can be mindful. All you need is a desire to take control of your life and a willingness to engage.

Being in the present

Mindfulness is a way of turning our attention towards the mind and watching it work,
by looking at it and not just through it.

It’s paying attention on purpose in the present moment, acknowledging and accepting our thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental way. This gives us greater choice, as we learn to respond, rather than react to whatever arises.

In practice, it’s simple yet powerful, because we are so used to getting lost in our thoughts. Until we actually take a look, we aren’t aware how much time is spent in our heads, thinking about the past, worrying about the future and living on autopilot.

With the addition of the internet and social media, we don’t realise we are rarely in the
here and now.

Training yourself

The technique is really training yourself to deal with your thoughts differently. Witnessing them as they happen and noticing what pulls you away. It’s not about removing thoughts or clearing the mind, it’s about focusing, on your breathing, or on the physical sensations and activities in this moment.

As you focus, the mind wanders, but it’s the bringing it back that counts. The part of our brain that focusses is different from the part that ruminates and worries, so you switch gear from stressful mind to focussed mind. Every time you bring it back you strengthen that part of your brain, showing it another way, you train yourself to think differently.

It’s been scientifically proven that over time and with repetition, we create new, neural pathways (neuroplasticity) and we can literally re-wire our brains.

Life is a rollercoaster

Mindfulness helps us manage the ups and downs of life’s experiences, so we don’t make
them worse than they need to be. We learn that we are not our thoughts, we don’t have to believe them all and in doing so they lose their power over us.

Being in the here and now doesn’t mean we never look back or plan ahead, it means not allowing yourself to get lost in regrets or worries. We can then begin to see these habits, releasing our minds from the should haves and if onlys, into the freedom of the present, where we have the power to choose.

Mindfulness is not about doing something perfectly and needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Melaina can be found on the Mindfulness Teachers Register, found at
www.mindfulnessteachers.org.uk

If you require any further information or would like to book an introductory session, please contact Melaina Welland by phoning 07946 282 032 or email melaina.welland@outlook.com

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