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Caroline McDougall, Mindfulness Meditation

Depression and many other conditions pervasive in our Western world today are often caused by ruminative, negative thinking and associated emotions. We can become 'stuck' in these self-defeating patterns, which we can believe are accurate reflections of reality, our health or worthiness. Mindfulness meditation is a profoundly effective therapeutic tool which brings awareness of the temporary nature of thoughts and emotions; and challenges and elicits change in those 'stuck', unhelpful patterns. Because it releases ruminative thinking and emotions such as anger, fear, guilt and sadness, mindfulness can alleviate the overwhelming range of symptoms experienced by depressed people. These include including feelings of hopelessness, isolation, low mood, sleeping too much or too little, and suicidal thoughts. Mindfulness is also beneficial for people experiencing anxiety, pain, or obsessive thoughts and behaviour. However, this aspect of Caroline's commitment to enhance the lives of others is not a 'discipline to master', or a tool used to control life. It is a valuable 'self-help tool' for promoting physical, emotional, spiritual and mental wellbeing.

Caroline facilitates mindfulness meditation in groups and sometimes during individual therapy sessions. The emphasis is on deep breathing awareness, which in itself can greatly increase relaxation and initiate calm by reducing stress and mind 'clutter'. A carefully guided process assists awareness of the moment by moment internal experiences: sensations, thoughts and emotions; as well as external stimuli such as sounds or smells. Troubling thoughts, emotions or physical sensations are observed without judgment, with the same detachment used to observe the rhythm of breathing. The goal is 'awareness without attachment', to observe, accept and detach from learnt or instinctive automatic reactions to thoughts and consequent difficult emotions, such as fear or anger. The outcome is an improved ability to tolerate and cope with life challenges, and a reduced propensity for controlling, numbing or avoidant behavior.

Mindfulness will help you to:

With improved emotional integration and self-esteem through mindfulness, you can enjoy a more positive response to your environment, and a calmer, more balanced life. It is possible to experience sustainable contentment, inner peace and joy. Mindfulness helps you to live in harmony with yourself and others.

If you would like to join a mindfulness meditation group, or find out more about this wonderful tool for enhancing your life, email Caroline.