What is mindfulness?

Practising mindfulness, which has been defined as the ‘awareness that arises through intentionally attending in an open,  kind and discerning way’ (Shapiro & Carlson,  2009,  p.  15), can be effective in managing stress.

What is counselling?

Counselling is support from a trained individual with a client, where both parties agree the purpose of the counselling sessions within a confidential and safe setting.  Boundaries are agreed before targets of improvements to a situation are set.  Both the counsellor and client are equal partners in exploring the situation; the counsellor may have expertise in psychology  while the client may have the expertise of their own situation.

How does CBT and mindfulness work?

Fadel Zeidan, PhD, a research fellow in the department of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine says. “We have different pathways that can facilitate different behaviors.” Overuse the regions associated with depression, and the pathways for happiness—which aren’t being used—become weaker.

Is there any connection between mindfulness and meditation?

Anybody practicing mindfulness and wants to take it further would be advised to start meditation.

According to Zeidan, the whole point of meditation is to take what you learn from the practice and transform it to the rest of your life. He says this is both a conscious and subconscious practice: At the start of your meditation practice you might be doing what he calls “conscious appraisal”—where you look at a situation and try to actively apply some of the calm you’ve learned through meditation to it. Over time, mindfulness will take a lot less conscious thought—it’ll become automatic. And, according to research, this can translate to greater levels of happiness and self-satisfaction.

“That place where being mindful becomes more second-nature is where the plastic change in the mind happens,” says Zeidan. “It’s not effortful. You don’t say you’re going to be mindful, you just are. But if you don’t practice it’ll go away. Like training a muscle. If you stop, over time that muscle is going to deteriorate.”  (credit also to Jessica Cassity)

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