Ask June

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As an experienced therapist for over 10 years, I am passionate about mental health and wellbeing. If we do not look after our own well being this can have a detrimental affect on our level to cope in times of pressure, and when this pressure builds it turns to stress. Although stress and anxiety are not psychiatric illnesses, left unnoticed it can soon turn to depression etc. Having suffered myself in the past, through therapy I learned to manage my emotions, this inspired me to help others. I work with schools delivering group sessions, or private individual sessions. One of the best ways to combat anxiety is through practising mindfulness. The workshops I deliver in schools teach the benefits of mindfulness and how to be mindful, not only through meditation but in our every day lives. We all live our lives like we sometimes drive our cars 'waiting for the destination' mindfulness teaches us to enjoy the journey and be present. When we are present and in the moment we cannot reflect on the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness really can reduce stress. The stress awareness sessions I deliver are designed to help you recognise stress not only in yourself but in others, and learn how to be more resilient to combat anxiety. These sessions can be adapted specifically to meet the groups' needs. I teach many interventions that will help manage and overcome stress. I can show you how to use visualisation techniques to bring about relaxation for both mind and body and reduce the negative thoughts we all have about ourselves from time to time. A qualified coach, through one to one sessions I guide and inspire clients to bring about a clearer understanding of their aspirations and goals, and to achieve the necessary changes in their present or future behaviour that will ensure positive outcomes. in addition breaking down limiting beliefs and recognising learned behaviours that hold us back.
Mindfulness is a much-needed ‘pause’ button for everyday life. It's about being in the present, not the past or future, and using this sense of presence to manage negative thoughts that can take over our minds and make us feel stressed, depressed or anxious. Focusing all of our attention on the present moment – our emotions, sights, sounds, and sensations in our body – can help us to improve our mental wellbeing and build our resilience. Being resilient is something we can all learn, so we can be more equipped to handle life’s ups and downs. How do we build and strengthen it? It’s simple, by being kind to ourselves, mentally, physically and emotionally; getting better quality sleep, doing moderate exercise, being out in nature ( just half an hour in nature has a lasting effect and can lift our mood for 7 hours ) and having some ‘me time’ are good things to start with. How does Mindfulness
Mindfulness works on a number of levels From a physical point of view mindfulness practice causes a relaxation response. The relaxation response means your breathing slows, your blood pressure drops, you relax and feel calmer. From a brain science point of veiw, regular mindfulness reduces the reactivity of the amygdala ( The fight or flight part of your brain ) This means you will become less reactive, less anxious and stressed about things that would have previously upset or worried you. From a psychological point of view, mindfulness allows you to feel and experience a very natural sense of being totally OK. This creates feelings of self acceptance with less need to strive for perfection in life ( Most people find this to be highly stressful )
The beauty of mindfulness is that you can practice it anywhere, at any time – whether you’re washing the car, walking to the shops, or pulling up weeds! As long as you focus on the very moment you’re in and notice the world around you – your thoughts and feelings – you can tune in to the experience of even the most mundane tasks and begin to appreciate what you are experiencing in that moment. Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When this happens, we often appreciate the little things that we might take for granted.
Mindfulness is right for anyone who would like to feel more in control of their thoughts, rather than than letting their thoughts control them. Being mindful can help us to take a mental step back from the negative automatic thoughts that can crowd our minds, lower our self-esteem or affect our relationships with others. It won’t make your problems go away, but it can give you the ability to see past them and gain a bit of perspective.
Mindful meditation focuses on breathing as way of paying attention to the moment. This calms the mind and the body. When meditating we can notice thoughts and feelings as they appear, allowing them to pass without making judgement, and focussing once again on breathing. It’s something that you can do in addition to everyday mindfulness – many people set aside a certain time of the day for meditation, such as before bed, as a way to unwind. Maintaining a calm mind and body helps us manage life better and deal with what comes along, to look at things differently rather than letting our learned reactions and limiting beliefs take over.
More research is needed in certain areas, but mindfulness meditation has been found to help with: Reducing blood pressure. Managing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as chronic pain and the depression that often accompanies it. Fibromyalgia, which is a musculoskeletal condition that causes stiff joints, pain and tenderness throughout the body. Treating addiction (substance abuse). Boosting the immune system. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce cortisol, therefore reducing the stress response and the damaging effect it can have on your body.
There are many great apps on the market, some offering free starter sessions before you decide to buy. Everyone’s different, so it’s really about trial and error to see what’s right for you. Here are five apps you may want to take a look at.