Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

May 11, 2015 1:00 am Published by

It’s one of the most important dates in our calendar – Mental Health Awareness Week is here and this year focusses on Mindfulness as a tool for mental illness.

The Mental Health Foundation examines Mindfulness and the benefits:

You’ve probably heard a lot about Mindfulness in the media recently. Perhaps you think it means sitting cross-legged on the floor and meditating.

Maybe you think mindfulness means to simply concentrate on your breathing. You may have even heard that mindfulness means to focus on your bodily sensations? Well mindfulness is all of those things, and so much more. To shed some light on what mindfulness is, how it can be used and why it’s so beneficial we have decided to focus on the theme of mindfulness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2015.

Tell me, what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future.Mindfulness can be practiced standing, sitting and walking. It can be practiced both indoors and out; at home, in schools, at work or simply out and about. You can practice mindfulness for 5 minutes or 5 hours – that’s the great thing about mindfulness, you can tailor it to suit your own needs.

What you may be surprised to hear is that you have probably been mindful at some point in your life and didn’t even know it… Have you gone for a long walk, breathing in the crisp, fresh air and then suddenly realised that four hours have passed? Have you listened so intently to a song that for a moment, you weren’t thinking about anything but how beautiful the melody was? That’s mindfulness!

How can mindfulness help me?

Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness isn’t about emptying your mind of thoughts and ‘zoning out’. It can mean different things to different people. At the heart of it, mindfulness helps people observe the way they think and feel about their experiences, whether good or bad. This can really change the way you manage and react to stressful situations, giving you a valuable tool to stay mentally healthy, and an ever-expanding body of evidence shows that it really works.

Mindfulness is already known to be successful in helping people with mental and physical health problems, from stress, depression and anxiety to chronic pain, eating disorders and concentration, boost our productivity at work, and give us a greater enjoyment of life.

Mindfulness CPD at The Counselling Foundation Training Centre

The Training Centre ran a really popular and successful CPD on Mindfulness in March which was run by Andrew Cunningham, a Hypnotherapy, CBT and Mindfulness therapist who has been practising in Harley Street for over 12 years and worked with major TV channels including ITV, Channel 4 and the Living Channel.

I joined the course and found it highly useful, informative and insightful. We did the classic raisin exercise where we had to use all of our senses to experience the piece of dried fruit (quite slowly!) and take into consideration the minute level of detail that we usually overlook in our busy lives. Andrew also walked the participants through a full body scan, to stop and be in the present moment with how we felt physically.

The feedback was outstanding and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Andrew said “It was a pleasure to come to St Albans and share mindfulness with the Foundation. There was a good mix of people with different needs which made the workshop interesting and varied. We had a chance to ‘do’ a lot of mindfulness as well as discuss the implications for therapists.”

If you’re interest in our upcoming CPDs please click here.


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