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experiences of Mindfulness?

(18 Posts)
lirael Tue 04-Feb-14 09:16:12

I have just started the BeMindful online course in an attempt to cope better (or even cure!) my anxiety, which is particularly focused on my health, driving and going away from home in general. Am not on any meds - have suffered with this in varying degrees for 10 years now. Has anyone found Mindfulness to be helpful? I do feel a bit more relaxed in general, but wonder whether the focus on the body and its sensations is good for someone who tends to be a bit obsessed/anxious about how she feels in the first place!!

LadyGooGoo Tue 04-Feb-14 09:23:10

I've done some mindfulness courses and the general advice if the sensations feel too much or you're not comfortable focusing on the body is to direct attention to your hands, bum on seat etc. or even do a colour meditation.
I have emetophobia so I get where you're coming from, when the body scan moves to the abdomen I often start to notice stomach churny feelings, not very mindfully!

lirael Tue 04-Feb-14 10:34:32

Have you found it helpful LadyGooGoo?

LadyGooGoo Tue 04-Feb-14 10:42:32

That was weird...just been out and refreshed the page and ta daaa! You reply at exact second <Twilight Zone music>
I have found it helpful, but you need to make it a regular thing in your day I think...I have bursts of it and then let it lapse and feel myself getting stressed, snappy, worried etc. so then start it up again.
Although, when I am in panic mode it does give me a bit of detachment so that I can observe the changes in me rather than just living them. To be one step away can be quite helpful as it feels like me and the worry are separate rather than it being a part of me IYSWIM?
Plus there are loads of studies saying it makes a difference even if you can't see the point of it, so with such a resounding affirmation, you can't disagree really hmm!

UriGeller Tue 04-Feb-14 10:48:44

Yes. Mindfulness helped immensely when I was up nights with newborn babies. To focus on the present and take in and just 'be' every sensation made sleepless nights, perhaps not enjoyable, but bearable!

WithanAnotE Wed 05-Feb-14 19:07:45

Found it really helpful, albeit hard sometimes to get myself into a mindful mind. (.... If that's not a contradiction in itself!)

I find staying with / sitting with and enjoying the present hard sometimes though - I am quite an action-orientated, job-done, big tick on the 'to do list' kinda gal.

So I took up amateur photography as well which really helps 'motivate' me to go out on walks, to the zoo, forest, into town (photos of the buildings....) etc to take mindful pictures.

Somehow, knowing that I am with camera to capture my surroundings through mindfully composing the shot adds the 'purpose' I need to get me out and about in the first place. I also get a great sense of achievement in my (tangible) results.

Needless to say it's really hard at the mo as the weather is so rubbish sad but I have found things to photograph indoors too thanks to some photography mags for ideas and inspiration.

lirael Fri 07-Feb-14 17:48:48

Yes I'm that sort of person too WithanA - find it almost impossible to be mindful when I've got something to do (ie most of the time). I think it is helping with the health anxiety a bit though - in that I just try to accept and get on with things and I've bcome more aware of the link between physical feelings and thoughts/emotions.

dishandspoon Sun 23-Feb-14 08:59:43

''I have just started the BeMindful online course in an attempt to cope better (or even cure!) my anxiety, which is particularly focused on my health, driving and going away from home in general. Am not on any meds''

- you just described my situation exactly! Those are the things that trigger my anxiety too, exactly the same! What is the online course that you are doing? I'd be really interested in that. I am currently reading 'mindfulness for BPD' (I have BPD too, lucky me) by Blaise Aguirre and Gillian Galen - it is very god, I highly recommend it.

dishandspoon Sun 23-Feb-14 09:00:14

or even 'very good' smile

SeasonofTheWitch Sun 23-Feb-14 19:01:51

I used to practise meditation and mindfulness to help with stress and anxiety. I found that meditation when I could actually manage to switch off to do it properly was helpful for a while but the effects wore off quickly. With mindfulness, it was good when I remembered to be mindful!

Since I came across the Three Principles I've stopped needing to do either of them as it seems to allow people to access 'that state' naturally, without trying.

Within a couple of weeks of doing it (it's not really about doing it, it's more an understanding of how our brains work) my stress levels had dropped to such an extent that the atypical facial pain (like a horrendous tooth/jaw ache) I'd had constantly for 15 years just reduced to almost nothing on its own.

I've known lots of other people who have had a similar experience and stopped bothering/needing to do mindfulness and meditation after learning about the Three Principles.

I can't recommend it highly enough

(I ought to say I now use the Three Principles in my coaching but it's not something that's essential to see a coach/practitioner to benefit from)

OneEggIsAnOeuf Tue 25-Feb-14 11:25:09

Doesn't The Three Principles have a spiritual dimension? I've only read a little about it so may have misunderstood, but wondered if that may put some people off. One of the good things about mindfulness, although its roots are in Buddhism, is that it doesn't require any belief in anything at all. Would be interested to know more.

SeasonofTheWitch Tue 25-Feb-14 11:58:23

Hi egg

A great question and one that I love to explore with people as everyone has a different view on what is meant by 'spiritual'!

For me, the Three Principles is only spiritual in that it's about the 'formless', ie stuff we can't touch: thought, conciousnessness, mind, energy etc and that we haven't currently got the scientific understanding to be able to articulate it in measurable terms.

The only belief that is required is that we understand that our minds work 'inside-out', i.e. at every moment we are feeling our thinking rather than 'outside-in' i.e. that our feelings are at the mercy of outside events.

In my experience, that belief is an easy one for people to acquire because it's logical and our personal experiences of life prove it works this way once we take a step back and look at what's really going on when we feel an emotion.

When I'm coaching clients we talk through some extreme examples of outside events (such as someone bursting in an putting a gun to my head!) and then the variety of thoughts which could occur and therefore result in different feelings.

I can't do justice to any of that in this format so don't be surprised if that makes little sense! It sometimes takes me half an hour to explain this in person.

Oh and I am and always been an atheist with Buddhist leanings (is that allowed? grin ) and I've had clients who are raging atheists or devout Christians - it doesn't make any difference because the 3Ps doesn't contradict any personal beliefs of that kind - it's simply an explanation of how our minds work.

What does spiritual mean to you? smile

Oh and I'll add your question to my FAQs page later!

OneEggIsAnOeuf Tue 25-Feb-14 17:47:55

Most Buddhists are atheists, so certainly allowed smile .

I'm also an atheist but i do believe in a kind of universal soul that we are all part of, so a spiritual dimension here wouldn't necessarily put me off, but it may do others. Just had a look on wiki and it refers to the fundamental premise of the movement is that life is spiritually generated into form from the formless. That could come across as a bit woo!

I've only had a chance to have the briefest of looks at your blog, but i wasn't clear on the differences between the Three Principles and mindfulness. The book i've found most useful is this one, which makes constant reference to thoughts not being facts, and how realising this can stop the slide into rumination. Is the difference then more in the execution rather than the philosophy?

I find the practice of mindfulness enormously beneficial. While i've dabbled with it for a long time i've only fully embraced it in the last year. I think it does need commitment to be successful though, so i can see the appeal of a system that doesn't require active practice, if that is what the Three Principles is?

OneEggIsAnOeuf Tue 25-Feb-14 17:50:19

Back to the op! I have gad which affects many areas of my life, and mindfulness has been great for me for many aspects including social and health anxiety. I have been using mindfulness to deal with the anxiety i have at the moment having had a bit of a health scare. I've been waking at night with a whirlpool of anxiety, feeling like my navel is a black hole pulling in all of the fear and anxiety in the universe. By facing the feelings rather than ignoring them, and just exploring them without any judgement i find that the sensations dissipate without my trying to do anything about them, just by being with them and exploring them. Within a very short time i feel calm and able to sleep again. Before i would have been awake for hours planning my funeral.

There are though some areas where i'm still struggling - driving is one for me as well. I think it can be hard to focus on mindfulness and on a task that requires concentration at the same time, though i think it may come with time and practice. At the moment i'm find it most effective when i'm not doing anything (other than worrying) or just doing something mundane. It's a work in progress!

SeasonofTheWitch Wed 26-Feb-14 10:34:21

egg yes I agree, some descriptions do sound woo and the wiki one does in places.

I guess it's because when we don't have so much on our mind, we feel much less defensive, insecure and fearful (given those negative feelings come from thought) and we'll naturally begin to feel more calm, compassion and connection to others and also to whatever we personally think is the intelligence/energy behind everything (whether that's God, just energy, the universe or whatever).

That is something which could be described as a spiritual element which most people start to feel once they understand the principles but it's not a goal or a something you have to believe in, if that makes sense?

In terms of the difference between the 3Ps and mindfulness: mindfulness seems to be a natural effect of understanding how we create our reality through thought. It's not something we need to 'do' or execute - it just seems to happen. I know that sounds too good to be true but it is logical result when you consider what happens when we stop taking thoughts seriously and therefore engage much less in thoughts of the past or the future smile

OneEggIsAnOeuf Wed 26-Feb-14 14:44:43

I think i get what you're saying about the spiritual. A bit like with yoga - there is a spiritual side but you don't have to engage with that to reap the benefit?

I'm still not clear about what the 3Ps offer that mindfulness doesn't - surely you still need an awareness that your thoughts are not reality? I have fully embraced the concept that my thoughts are not facts and are not 'me', but i still have anxiety because the processes are so ingrained that i don't always remember this in the moment, or more commonly don't realise i've started down a river of thought until i catch myself descending a rapid! What i can do now though that i couldn't before is stop the descent and get back to shore (bad metaphor, but you get the idea!)

Sorry if i'm sounding a bit critical - i'm really open to anything that would help put anxiety in the past and am genuinely interested, but am struggling to get quite what this is, that i'm not doing already.

Lirael - going back to your original post i meant to ask whether you have come across working the edge? It is one of the mindfulness techniques where you can explore a physical sensation, but instead of diving in and being overwhelmed you just stay close enough to be aware of it, but not so immersed that it causes you distress. The book i linked to earlier covers it well, though it may well be part of the BeMindful course (haven't done that one so not sure). It is really a technique borrowed from yoga where you only go so far into asana so that you are working but not so far that you are overdoing it. It can be really helpful if you are anxious (!) about connecting with the body sensations.

SeasonofTheWitch Wed 26-Feb-14 19:05:45

egg No, you don't sound critical, just interested smile All good questions.

Yes, yoga is a good example as makes sense on a logical/known level as well as a spiritual/unknown level.

The 3Ps can often offer people incredible levels of calm, clarity, confidence and release from fear, anxiety, depression etc. Mindfulness is just one of the benefits. Gratitude and positive thinking are common benefits too.

It also gives people a similar feeling to meditation as we are also more able to see that that 'place' (the one we use techniques like meditation to access) is actually there all the time, just sitting underneath thought, once we see that, it's easy to feel that way in a moment.

Yes, it's 'awareness that your thoughts are not reality' but the way in which the 3Ps is conveyed seems to create a mindshift where we see that truth at a different level of understanding. It becomes a belief set rather than a conscious thing to have to remember to do or think - does that make sense?

Once we have that new belief set (or it's more likely that it's the mindset we were born with that we were trained out of), we instinctively seem to have more helpful thoughts and are able to see much more easily that painful thoughts are just thoughts.

And it's not just that they are thoughts are not 'us', they're actually quite unimportant compared to the principle of thought as a whole and just infinitesimal as part of energy that we're all made of and connected to.

I haven't had a chance to watch this myself yet but this might explain things better than I can in writing smile. Dicken is a well respected 3Ps psychologist.

SeasonofTheWitch Wed 26-Feb-14 19:42:27

* And it's not just that thoughts are not 'us

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