MINDFULNESS

The Foundation WEL Course introduces you to a mindful approach. You may then have the opportunity to join an MBCT course to deepen and develop your skills and practice. Below is the information for the Glasgow course in the NHS Centre for Integrative Care.

Brief Introduction to the Mindfulness Meditation Programme



One approach of central importance in helping bring our body and mind into a healthier state is meditation. Meditation has now been shown to boost the body’s immune system and promote spontaneous healing and improve our spirits and coping. One system called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been developed and evaluated over 25 years – helping people with chronic diseases. It has a number of ingredients but one is “mindfulness” - a natural human capacity of paying gentle attention to the present moment in a relaxed and non-judgmental manner. With practice, mindfulness can be cultivated and brought into everyday life, helping us regain control over our stressful lives and distressing symptoms.  The techniques of mindfulness meditation can be learned by nearly everyone and can bring benefit to people suffering from a wide range of chronic conditions such as pain and depression.  Recently MBSR has been slightly adapted to include selected elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT – which in itself has been shown to be of value to some people with CFS/ME)) to make “MBCT”.  We are offering a version of MBCT for people with CFS/ME because of its holistic mind-body approach to healing. 



The aim of the course is


1)To promote healing: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to boost the body’s immune system and promote spontaneous healing.

2)To develop awareness of processes that nourish or drain our natural resources. By becoming aware of the connection between physical sensations, thoughts and feelings we learn to recognise patterns (such as self attack and worry) that help or hinder recovery from CFS/ME.

3)To learn new ways to relate to pain and fatigue. Coming into the present moment with an attitude of kindness and non-judgmental acceptance helps us discover our inner potential to cope with difficult symptoms.

4)To discover joy. By learning to relax into the present moment, letting go of expectations and fears, we discover the joy of being.

5)To work skilfully towards recovery from CFS/ME.





What is mindfulness and what will the classes involve?


Mindfulness means deliberately paying attention to different aspects of your experience on a moment-to-moment basis. Practising meditation is a way of developing mindfulness. In the classes we will be teaching various forms of meditation with the intention of becoming more aware of thought, feelings and body sensations as they arise in each moment. This can help you to develop different ways of relating and responding to them and so be less trapped by automatic reactions that pull you into vicious circles before you know it.


What previous participants have said:


being mindful means I can make a better assessment of what I am capable of doing, I can break down my day and not cram everything in at once.”


“increased awareness of thoughts in difficult situations actually changes how I feel and helps me deal with them better.”


“breathing into my pain makes such a difference”


“I’ve learned to be less hard on myself, have more quality time with the children, not worry so much about the past and future”




Homework : the importance of practice :


Together we will be working to change patterns of thinking and reacting that may have been around for a long time. We can only expect change if we put time and effort into learning skills. The approach depends on your willingness to do homework between class meetings.  This homework will take about 45minutes a day, 6 days per week for 8 weeks. It involves, for example listening to CDs, keeping brief records, practising different ways of meditating.  We appreciate that it may be difficult to set aside a chunk of time like this in your life, however the more you do, the more you will reap the benefits.  Looked at another way, the 8 weeks offer an invaluable period for self-reflection and growth.




Facing Difficulties 


In the classes we will be learning greater awareness in each moment in life. This can bring interest and vitality to life. It also means facing what is present and this can sometimes be difficult. In the long run, you will find that turning to face and acknowledge difficulties is the most effective way of opening up new possibilities for change. It is a central part of relating to both physical and mental pain and discomfort.  Seeing feelings, sensations or thoughts more clearly as they arise means you will be in a better position to respond to them before they pull you off course. In the classes, we learn gentle ways to face difficulties with the help of the instructors and other class members.



Patience and Persistence


Because we are working to change well-established habits, the fruit of your effort may not be immediately apparent. In many ways it is like gardening – we have to prepare the ground, plant the seeds, water and nourish them and then wait patiently for the results. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t notice change straight away. We ask you to approach the classes with a spirit of patience, persistence and curiosity, and allow the process to unfold in its own time.



Is this the course for me?


Mindfulness practice sometimes results in repressed painful emotional material coming to the surface.  While this is normal part of the therapeutic process and the course facilitators are happy to help anyone working with difficult experiences, if you have known history of significant psychological trauma (such as post-traumatic stress disorder) you may wish to speak with one of the facilitators before enrolling.


The time commitment involved means that this course may not be suitable for participants whose lives are in a state of great upheaval such as moving house, getting divorced, restarting full time work etc. If you are not sure it this course is for you, please contact Karen McNee who will arrange for one of the course facilitators to speak with you.