Monday, 10 October 2016

An Invitation to be Mindful by Dr Louise Nairn

We held an Introduction to Mindfulness session earlier this month with thanks to Dr Louise Nairn who freely gave her time.  Louise has written an article for our next newsletter about Mindfulness.

 “You only have moments to live”. These were the words I used to open and close the recent mindfulness session at BMSTC last week. They are from Jon Kabat-Zinn  and convey the central meaning of living mindfully: getting the most out of every moment instead of being swept along by thoughts about our past, problems, future and the accompanying emotions. In a mindful mode we can create space to respond in new ways to situations and make wise decisions.

I am a clinical psychologist with MS. I am in a good position to experience first hand the benefits of mindfulness while managing the vagaries of a chronic and unpredictable illness. The session at BMSTC was an opportunity to share this with people on a similar journey. We spent an interesting hour discussing what mindfulness is and its potential benefits and limitations. Of course being mindful is an experience, a stillness of being, and together we tried out two meditations and a mindful practice of eating a raisin. Eating raisins mindfully is not as daft as it sounds as it allowed us to use all 5 senses to change a mundane experience (eating, drinking, sitting) into an opportunity to cherish a moment in life.

We closed our session with a discussion about establishing a mindful practice at home. I hope you have been inspired to try one yourself. It is not difficult and may offer some peaceful moments to enjoy.

 · Choose a suitable place and time. Set a timer for 1, 2, 5 – however many you want – minutes.

· Sit up straight in a chair, feet on floor, eyes closed and hands resting on lap.

· Bring attention to your breathing. Notice where you feel it in your body and breathe naturally.

· Your mind will wander – that is natural. When you notice it has wandered gently bring it back to the breath and mindfully notice where it wandered: “thinking”, “listening”, “itching”, “pain”.

Remember, you only have moments to live.

“Oh I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.” (Nadine Stair, poet)