It seems that everywhere we look we can read about the benefits of mindfulness. Steeped in ancient tradition the practice has been increasingly studied scientifically with impressive results. Benefits have been reported in relation to stress, anxiety, low mood and pain. Enhanced concentration, learning and productivity have also led companies including Google to routinely offer mindfulness training to employees.
Yet despite all of the evidence in it's favour, it can be really difficult to sustain a practice of mindfulness. In fact, the majority of people who attend an 8 week course in mindfulness find it difficult to continue to practice once the course ends. When this happens, the benefits gained from the practice usually fade too.
The benefits of mindfulness come when we are able to stop fighting the things that we can't change in our experience. Our natural instinct is to try to control our feelings and resist the ones that we don't like. Unfortunately when we do this we end up adding fuel to the way that we feel and focusing on the negative aspects of our experience. We also engage in habits like tensing up and becoming self-critical. Mindfulness helps us to reverse this. We learn to give less attention to our difficulties so that they have less of a hold on us.
Mindfulness is very simple. In any given situation we are mindful if we are paying attention to what is happening, here and now. When we are mindful our judgment is not clouded and we are in a good position to make informed decisions about how to respond.
However, although it is simple it is difficult to put into practice because it can go against our instincts. It is also hard to continue with a Mindfulness practice if we are doing it on our own. As with physical exercise, the support of a class or group to come to can be crucial in maintaining the motivation to carry on. This was very much understood within the ancient mindfulness traditions but has not carried over into the way that mindfulness is taught in England where 8 week courses are the usual mode of delivery.
A new 4 week introduction to mindfulness course in Cullercoats aims to support people who are new to mindfulness and those who would like to reconnect with a mindfulness practice. It is led by Chris Penlington who is an experienced Mindfulness Teacher and Clinical Psychologist. Each session will involve an experiential mindfulness practice along with enquiry and discussion about the practice and everyday activities that can support mindfulness and wellbeing. Participants can choose to stay for a further mindfulness drop in session immediately afterwards which will continue to be available after the course has ended at a cost of only £5 a session. The course and drop-in sessions provide an affordable way to develop and continue with a mindfulness practice within a supportive group setting.
A limited number of places are still available for the next course which will run on every Thursday evening in September 2017 from 5.30 to 7pm at Cullercoats Community Centre. The cost of the course is just £40 which includes 6 hours of course time with an optional additional 4 hours of drop in sessions, written handouts to back up each session, access to mindfulness tracks to download and the option to join a closed Facebook Group for people who are attending the 4 week course or have done so in the past.
To book a place click on the link below