Mindfulness for a Contented Life
Article by Sylvia Clare, Mindfulness Teacher at YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton
Mindfulness is in the health news so often now it seems to be a new discovery, but really it has been with us for thousands of years in one form or another. Most people are mindful at times but they don’t realise it or know how to develop or harness that skill to enhance their sense of wellbeing and inner peace.
There are a lot of books and self-help takes around which claim to enable you to develop your mindfulness practice but in over two decades of teachings I have met so many people who tried it that way and then found something missing in the experiences they had until they were able to learn from an experienced teacher.
Stable Heart and Mind – greater resilience to life generally
Mindfulness enables you to remain more emotionally stable through the challenges that we all face in life. As you learn and develop the skills of regulating your emotional and cognitive activities they become less reactive and more balanced so that in a crisis you are more able to maintain calm balanced ways of managing and dealing with it.
Better Relationships – less conflict and greater intimacy
These develop from better self-awareness and compassion for others and the places we live in. We cannot change the outer world but we can adapt the inner world so that the outer world is less intrusive or stressful.
Acceptance – and gratitude for the life we have whilst still moving forward
We cannot always have what we want but often even if we get what we want in life we are not satisfied for long. Learning mindfulness helps us become accepting of what we need and frees us up from the dictates of a materialistic and consumeristic culture, enabling us to live simply and with greater freedom from external pressures.
Letting Go and not allowing past hurts to continue to damage your present and future
So often we are hurt and then when we want to move on we find we cannot let go of the fear of being hurt again. This frequently leads us to repeat the same unhappy cycles and patterns in life. We all talk about letting go but very few people show you how this is done in a way that gradually works more and more powerfully until it is your default mode. Our fear can often hurt us more than the original action did and letting go of fear is crucial to being happy and at peace with yourself.
Increased focus and greater productivity whilst being more relaxed
Being able to concentrate of what matters is something that we all want more of, for many reasons. The practice of mindfulness includes mental training exercises which gradually allow you to tame your monkey mind and to gain the ability to achieve what you set out to without distractions and displacement activities hindering you.
Slowing down and achieving more without noticing it
Funnily enough, the more you develop mindfulness skills the more you can slow down and yet achieve more because you are focused and more effective in what you do, more likely to complete and finish to high standards and to enjoy and relax during the activity rather than getting increasingly stressed out and urgent, so that completion is a joy, not a relief or anxiety on a higher level.
Enjoying everything – even the chores
Often the list of things we feel obliged to do and yet resist or actively dislike can spoil an otherwise happy life. IF we learn how to manage our thoughts and feelings about these actions or demands then we are able to complete them without the inner torment and hostility that causes us so much stress.
Pain is a reality for many people in life through structural difficulties with bodies and short and long term conditions. Pain can really be intrusive. With mindfulness skills you can learn to master the experience of pain in ways that actually are empowering and liberating.
A philosophy for living that makes you feel really good about yourself
Our internal life is governed by our values, judgements and experiences and most of this in unconscious. The problem with this is that it is also the source of much of our unhappiness. Learning to understand and modify our personal philosophy to be the best version of yourself that you want to be and to learn how to embrace all that you are, can only be a great feeling to live with.
The list of life benefits I have personally found could go on and on, since 1995, when I developed a disciplined personal mindfulness practice. For each of us it might be different, in countless ways too. All I know is that I enjoy being alive more and suffer much less, and my life has gone from strength to strength in ways I would never have thought possible. I know it works and I am passionately committed to my own practice as well as sharing it with others so that they can find the same benefits.
Sylvia Clare, Mindfulness Teacher for YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton.
Edited by YOU Massage Therapy.
About Sylvia Clare
Sylvia has been teaching mindfulness and related subjects since 1996 and has a BA Hons and MSc in Psychology and Psychological Research, a certificate in Family Therapy from the Institute of Family Therapy, a professional training development certificate for MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress from Jon Kabat-Zinn, a diploma in Metaphysical Counselling and various other certificate and qualifications which to her are meaningless without the deep practice to go with it. She is also an accredited teacher of the Mindfulness Course organised by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Community of Interbeing, BE Calm BE Happy. She also sees people for individual support and counselling sessions based on mindfulness principles only. She taught psychology for 16 yrs academically before turning to writing and teaching mindfulness in 1996. She has had four books published on related topics: Trusting your Intuition, Living the Life You Want, Releasing your Child’s Potential and Raising the Successful Child, all published by How To Books /Pathways, and now publishes articles online about mindfulness and the emotional journeys of life.
About Sylvia’s Mindfulness Courses in Southampton
Sylvia’s courses will run for 6 weeks, 90 minutes per session, starting in January 2018 *
If you would like to find out more, she will be attending an Open Day at YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton on Sunday 29th October where she will run 2 x awareness sessions that you can join, alongside our other classes and workshops in Yoga, Pilates and Hypnotherapy.