Annie Ploughman Psychology


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has become an integral part of much psycho-therapeutic practice because it facilitates an effective path to healing and transformation. We human beings continually use our minds to problem solve. We plan or worry about the future, ruminate over the past, or go over conversations that made us angry. We get caught up in criticising ourselves or others, often wishing our circumstances were other than they are.

This basic capacity of our mind to problem solve has been enormously beneficial to our survival as a species. However, if we have no ability to turn our minds from the worry, anxiety, anger rehearsal or self-criticism, then we find ourselves trapped by our own mind, unable to rest, let alone find a sense of well-being or happiness.

Mindfulness can enable us to respond to our incessant thinking in a more helpful way. By learning to open to the present moment with awareness and acceptance, we can discern between patterns of mind that are helpful and those that are not. We can also learn to move toward our painful emotional experience rather than running from it in fear. Only by moving toward our pain can we care for ourselves and practice the kindness necessary for healing.

How do I learn mindfulness?

We can develop mindfulness in two ways.

1.By practicing meditation

The word meditation comes from two Latin words meditari (to exercise the mind, to think, to dwell upon) and mederi (to heal). In learning to meditate we are literally training our minds to be steady, present and aware. Often meditation is described as an education in waking up.

Most of us have very little say over what we think, which thoughts to follow and which to let go. It is like we are tied to the trunk of an elephant. We are compelled to go wherever the elephant goes, regardless of whether it is a helpful direction. By practicing meditation we foster an inner clarity and spaciousness that helps us direct our own mind regardless of external circumstances.

2.By practicing mindfulness in daily life

Mindfulness can be practiced at any time during your day. By bringing your attention to the task at hand rather than focusing on the goal or outcome desired, you are immediately bringing yourself into the present moment. Some examples might be: noticing the feel of the water on your hands as you wash up, the sensation of the breeze on your face, the taste of the food, the physical sensation of a painful emotion. Often just remembering to notice your breath entering and then leaving your body for a couple of breaths is transformative, as it helps you to come back to the present. 

Within the therapy sessions I use mindfulness techniques and can teach you meditation and mindfulness skills.