Mindfulness is helpful in many ways and is used to deal with physical and mental problems. It can BE PRACTICED ANYWHERE AND DOING ANYTHING. It could be eating, drinking, especially alcohol, having a shower, cleaning your teeth, waiting in a queue, walking, running, washing dishes, clothes… It involves being aware of what is being done. In this sense, it is like self-hypnosis where you are in complete control and not in a zombie-like trance.
This means it can be good for weight control as mindful eating means being aware of what one IS eating. It can be good for controlling drinking for the same reason. It is a way of mastering and restoring ourselves. The same is true for fear and anxiety as it is a powerful technique for coming to terms with what one is thinking and feeling.
With the latter feelings of fear, anxiety and even panic, it is to practice more and more being relaxed and calm in one’s own imagination through mindfulness meditation, and self-hypnosis (they are very similar). It works on the principle that it is harder to experience opposing emotions, feelings and thoughts simultaneously. This is especially true if one does focus on calmness in relation to the aversive event or person, whatever it may be, and to see it as something that can be approached in this way rather than the automatic pilot of feeling that it overcomes us.
How does mindfulness work?
It generally works in a similar way to hypnotherapy in which awareness of body and mind plays a key role. So rather than being on automatic pilot and believing any thought that comes in it is to see thoughts as mental events not the “truth”. The same is true for physical feelings that they are often temporary and to identify with them might well prolong the suffering. Emotions come in and then go, so again it is not to identify with them because like anything else they can then take over.
It is good for being self-nurturing in nourishing the body with good, healthy food and getting appropriate exercise. The same applies to the mind. It is basically a technique for exercising the mind just as is hypnotherapy. This makes the mind stronger and enables the person to deal with whatever life presents in a more effective way. So mindfulness is a way of waking up from autopilot! The same is true then for hypnotherapy.
Mindfulness & EFT
Both can be used in conjunction with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). This works on the principle that negative energy flows in the body lead to the problems of what is felt physically and emotionally. So it is to get the energy flows to move in a more productive way by tapping. This is similar to acupuncture which works on the principle of redirecting energy flows in a more helpful direction. It works on the principle that energy flows are between thoughts and feelings, whether physical or emotional, so if they are encouraged to go in a more helpful direction then what is felt can sometimes be completely dealt with.
Mindfulness in Relationships
To make it clear how Mindfulness/hypnotherapy work in everyday life I’ll give the example of a relationship which ended between Stephen and Wendy. If there is regret, guilt sorrow, unhappiness, worry then it is understandable that negativity will come in. Stephen felt this in a relationship with Wendy which kept breaking up over the four and half years that it lasted. With mindfulness and indeed hypnotherapy the approach is not to blame the other person or oneself. So this is to do with thoughts which can be more under control with practice- a lot of it. But emotions don’t work the same way so it is not to block them but to be aware of them. Sexuality can bring up a lot of emotions especially when two people think somewhat differently about it.
So one of the main problems was some sexual incompatibility which came up regularly between Stephen and Wendy. Stephen wanted to have sexual activity more often than Wendy and for it to be a more vigorous thing than Wendy would often allow. However, in many other ways such as common interests and the desire for self-development they were compatible. This was enough to keep the relationship going for some months but usually it would end in an argument which would temporarily cause separation after about 6 months on average.
They did get together again after these breaks but the breaks could be months long but sometimes just a few weeks. Stephen used Mindfulness from a course which he had attended and found it very helpful. So the last time they broke up and it helped him greatly. So rather than blame Wendy who wouldn’t even speak to him at first he examined his thoughts and feelings. He realised that he had been blaming Wendy so changed his thoughts to more acceptance, love, respect for her point of view.
He still had strong feelings of regret about the end of the relationship and feeling now that Wendy was right and it was time to move on. Nonetheless, his feelings of how much they had shared and that would stop now were very strong. He especially felt it physically in his gut as a tightness but used Mindfulness to accept this feeling and hold it in his awareness. This worked for him as he now felt he could take the emotional and physical feelings and look at the relationship more objectively. So he felt that Wendy was right and it was best to end he relationship and move on as she suggested.
Whether they would get together in the future again would be on a more mindful basis if it was going to work. Life is not predictable so that too is part of Mindfulness and indeed therapy generally, to be able to accept uncertainty. This especially was true in the past for them as they genuinely thought the relationship was finished but still got back together again.
So it is to treat yourself with kindness. With Stephen he said that sexually he judged himself as being too demanding. However, he had been in two relationships where sex wasn’t an issue and the relationships finished for other reasons so he felt that it was his “inner critic” at work saying he was wrong. Rather than just accept that he looked more objectively at himself as a human being with the emotions and thoughts that come up with anyone who is human.
Mindfulness Chepstow & Caldicot
So, in conclusion, it is to see that Mindfulness is just paying attention to the present moment and see what affects us on a day to day basis. Short meditation exercises are used to offer a window to the mind and to strengthen aspects of the mind such as awareness, being more in the present moment and having an attitude of compassion, curiosity, being non-judgemental and appreciation of all experience.
In relation to self-hypnosis it is to see that it is very similar to mindfulness but that it is a technique that is used for many problems in a more problem-solving way. Mindfulness is more about being aware and accepting. Which approach is more appropriate depends on the person and what they actually want to do. But it is to see Mindfulness and hypnotherapy as complementary rather than different. They are looking at problems from different perspectives which nonetheless overlap.