Many of us lead busy frantic lives, striving to get a semblance of order and meaning, amid the chaos surrounding us. This sometimes feels futile, and we feel like we are sinking – not coping as well as we should. We may even think that we need to “get over it” and “toughen up”. In effect, we try to push these feelings aside, believing there is nothing we can do about it. But what if we can?
There is no doubt that modern living is stressful. In fact, the US military first coined the acronym VUCA, short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, to refer to the extreme conditions in the world, which has subsequently been adopted referring to the workplace; highlighting that we are living in a time of change and uncertainty, which is both unsettling and challenging. It is hardly surprising that a significant number of us are stressed.
The impact of stress on health, wellbeing and performance is enormous. Some 70-80% of diseases are associated with chronic stress, including increased risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, digestive problems, diabetes and depression. It affects us both in mind and body, leading to us feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope and exhausted. We sleep poorly, have difficulties concentrating at work, relationships become strained and joy seems to go out of our lives.
Increasingly, all of our efforts seem to be centred on surviving, getting by. Unfortunately, we often have little or no control over the “stuff” going on in our hectic lives. However, we can learn to deal with it better. We can develop skills not only to survive but also to thrive. Mindfulness is one of those skills. Just as we exercise our body to become physically stronger, mindfulness is a way to exercise our brain to become mentally stronger.
We know that what we do and what we experience, changes the brain for better or worse. This is known as neuroplasticity. Scientific research has shown that mindfulness changes the brain for the better – it changes areas involved in paying attention and those concerned with managing our moods and stress response. In essence, we perform better cognitively, are more resilient and emotionally stable. Relationships improve, we are happier and healthier. Mindfulness isn’t a great panacea that will take away all our troubles, mindfulness cannot change our experiences – bad stuff still happens, that is inevitable – but what it can do is change how we relate to our experience. We are better able to deal with difficulties. Research has shown that practising mindfulness enables you to perform better even under stress.
If you want to be the best you can – living life to the full, why not join me, Dr Gail Davies, on my six-week mindfulness programme, which is based in science and designed specifically for busy people. You will have the chance to experience the benefits of mindfulness with a range of guided practices and learn how to integrate mindfulness into your daily life with personalised strategies.
The next group course will commence on the 9th September for 6 weeks, 7-8pm
At The Academy of Mental Fitness, Esher Groves Private Clinic
13-17 Church Street, Esher KT10 8QS
For further details and to book your place, please call 0345 112 2300
If you are interested in 1-2-1 mindfulness training please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org