To say that 2020 has been an emotional roller coaster is an understatement. For self-employed therapists it has been a time unlike any other. A time of fear and uncertainty, of extreme financial challenges and a time during which we’ve being stopped from doing what we all love so much. We miss human interaction, human touch – in effect we are all grieving the loss of their former lives. Furthermore, we know our clients are suffering and how much we could help if we were allowed to work. The lockdowns have been very damaging on so many levels and yet it will be therapists that people will be turning to in their droves for support and well-being as we start the road to recovery.
It is vital that we are ready for the challenge and now is the time to focus on your self-care and your own emotional wellbeing. Easier said than done when your livelihood is on the line but it must be done in order to get through difficult times!
As long term advocates of Mindfulness and Mindful practice at MSCM, we believe it can be something of a lifeline in present times. Why? – because it helps us to connect to what’s happening right now, rather than reliving scenes from the past or getting worried about what might happen in the future.
The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Mindfulness is something we can all cultivate, by paying attention to our experience of the present moment, which includes our body sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Informal ways of cultivating mindfulness can be practiced throughout the day, simply by paying attention to whatever you are doing. Opportunities are plentiful. One example might be brushing your teeth mindfully, noticing any sensations that a toothbrush has on your teeth, gums, or noticing the smell of toothpaste. Other examples might be washing dishes as you notice the warmth of water, the physical sensation of your hands on dishes, the sounds of washing. Or walking mindfully, noticing the sensations of your feet touching and leaving the ground. These are contrary to how we often live our lives, mindlessly, with our body going through motions on auto-pilot while our minds are busy worrying about the future or ruminating over other things.
You can practice mindfulness at any point in the day, whether that’s on the walk into town or during the advert break of your favourite show. Just take a moment to stop what you’re doing, and take notice of your surroundings and what you can smell, feel and hear around you. Plenty of studies show that appreciating what’s going on in the present moment can help us to spot when we’re beginning to feel stressed or anxious, meaning we can find better coping strategies.
When the mind get hijacked by strong emotions or stress, there are some simple tools you can use. Examples: simply notice your breath, noticing the sensation of in-breath and out-breath in the body, anchoring yourself to the present moment using both breath and body. Breathe in and out a few times. If your mind wanders, just notice that, accept that your mind has wandered, and refocus on your breathing.
Below are a couple of simple Mindfulness Practices (with acronyms to help you remember):
When you notice you’re getting anxious
With gentle awareness of such presence, proceed.
Formal ways of cultivating mindfulness are through mindful meditations, which can be guided or done in silence.
For a few minutes to 30-40 minutes, sit quietly. Become aware of the sensations of breath and body, as well as sounds, thoughts, and emotions, in a non-judgmental way, with compassion towards oneself.
Try what works for you but do it consistently for maximum benefits. Wishing you all a calmer and nurtured future going forward.
with love from Lynn and the MSCM team
Explore Mindful Techniques for Self Care
MSCM half day workshop will introduce you to simple techniques that really work! – details
Introduce Mindful Techniques into your Therapy Practice
MSCM ‘Mindful Therapist’ will give you everything you need to introduce Mindful working to your practice and to your clients enabling them to nurture their own wellbeing – details
Regular Mindfulness Meditations
Join us once a month for a session of Mindful Meditation – no two sessions the same – details
"We" includes MSCM Training Ltd and Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine
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