A bit about mindfulness, and me…
Hi I’m Susie, a mum of two boys who made the move from the UK to the Western Algarve last year. I’m really delighted to be embellishing life’s tapestry by working with Mindfulness Algarve!
I was introduced to mindfulness a few years ago and have found that it has both enriched my everyday life as well as helping me through some difficult times.
Some of the boxes that mindfulness ticks for me is that it’s suitable for virtually everyone; requires no special equipment, facilities or experience; it is not a religious or spirituality dependent approach and its principles, methods and effects are supported by solid scientific psychology and neuroscience research – the body of which is rapidly increasing. Practicing mindfulness can lead us to being more contented and fulfilled by everyday activities, and help us to deal with stress and difficulty more wisely which is always handy!
It’s taught me techniques to cope with the daily challenges and pressures of parenting; enabled me to make the most of my time with my Mum as her life came towards its end and to grieve as freely and fully as possible for both my parents; it’s given me the acceptance to deal with stepping back from my career and work life which I felt had defined me for so long; to let go of past events and mistakes; to make bold moves to change my life; to accept the person I am and to know myself better.
Mindfulness is also really fascinating and, I believe, a much-needed antidote to some of the stresses and speed of modern life. I decided to train as a mindfulness teacher to extend and deepen my own knowledge and practice, and to start being able to share with others the many benefits which are wide ranging with many supported by recent studies including clinical research. Neuro-science studies are now starting to look into actual physical changes to the brain following periods of practicing mindfulness meditation. It is gaining more and more momentum as a useful and beneficial tool within schools, healthcare, and business.
There is published scientific evidence that mindfulness can assist with:
Stress reduction, clarity and focus
Sleep enhancement, improved health, well being and ability to relax
Greater resilience and enhanced creativity
Improved relationships and improved concentration
Pain reduction, reduced anxiety and depression
Greater work satisfaction and improved work-life balance
Mindfulness is indeed a wonderful way to learn how to relax and can help with a wide range of physical and emotional challenges. As a well being approach with learnt and practiced techniques, mindfulness will hopefully become intrinsically part of your daily routine for the rest of your life. It is an active process and in order to bring about change in your life and to reap the benefits, it requires a deliberate engagement on your part. No one can do it for you! That said, Jon Kabat Zinn, considered to be a founder of
modern secular mindfulness said “You don’t have to enjoy it, you just have to do it!” and there are benefits to be had just by sticking with a regular daily practice, it is suggested for a minimum period of 8 weeks.
A central principle of mindfulness is cultivating the ability to be present, paying attention to our experience as it happens as opposed to effectively missing our present lives – by being stuck in our heads, thinking about the past or the future, remembering, imagining, or listening to the chatter of the inner critic most of us have.
Practicing mindfulness includes formal mindful meditation carried out in designated space and time, usually seated on a chair, as well as the informal practice of ‘being mindful’ within day to day activities. There are many exercises to help us to achieve the latter, and in time it becomes a blissful ‘healthy habit’.
I’m really looking forward to working with Sofia and Mindfulness Algarve to deliver a series of sessions – ‘Mindful Mornings’ – at my treasured space The Hideaway, a tranquil spot near Luz and Burgau in the Western Algarve. Maybe you can join us? Sofia and I will be here on Thursday mornings in November from 10.30am, exploring different themes within mindfulness and practicing meditation together. You are most welcome to join us, for one session or all of them (see event info on mindfulnessalgarve.com or our Facebook pages)
Our upcoming sessions will be informal, insightful and most of all useful for you. Both trained and accredited in the UK, Sofia and I each bring our knowledge of and passion for mindfulness, as well as our experiences of personal practice.
Within our sessions, guided meditations are used and these help to ‘train the mind muscle’ or to hone the focus of attention. Most people not used to meditating find this practice simple, though not always easy!
The best thing is there is no right or wrong way to do it, and people tend to feel comfortable and au fait with doing it after just a few days. Mindful meditation helps us slow down, and allows a gentle awareness of our present experience, our sensations, thoughts and emotions. We also use exercises, examples, and discussion to help us see how these affect our habits, reactions and view of reality, and how we can change these for the better. There is no requirement or pressure for anyone to share any information or feelings – mindfulness is a personal practice, although some people simply find it useful to reflect and discuss their experiences of the meditations or exercises, and this is welcomed.
Qualified ‘Mindfulness Now’ Teacher
Trained by UK College for Mindfulness, British Psychological Society Accredited
The Hideaway see Facebook @hideawayluzlagos
Mindfulness Algarve see www.mindfulnessalgarve.com