Posts tagged #mindfulness

More Reflexology less time to Blog!

I know I have been very quiet on here, and like all good plans my blogging ones have not materialised this year! But I’m being kind to myself and accepting I have been very busy with my reflexology and mindfulness clients, busy getting married and busy supporting my son through his GCSE exams. A busy bee indeed! I thought after my hiatus and in line with appreciating what I have done rather than focusing on what I have not, I would spend some time looking over some of my favourite previous posts from over the years . I didn’t realise I have written so much!

Ok, so the first one i have revisited is from 2016 and really would have been a great opening blog right back in 2008. In this post I explore why I chose the name Breathe for my therapy business. It is quite a personal piece which is not common for my writing. I normally keep away from sharing my own stuff. So if you’d like to read about how I came up with my business name have a little click below

Why Breathe 2016

The next post I have chosen is essentially the principles of mindfulness. I find mindfulness invaluable, I am far from my goals but being ok with this is just another way of expanding my mindfulness work. Non striving is so tough for me as I am, like so many others, a goal orientated box ticker!!! ( and in mean that in a non-judgmental way of course!!) Click the link below to take a look.

Mindfulness Explored 2015

Another more personal post this time, looking at how I had managed some challenges using my own therapeutic skills. Sometimes as a therapist it is easy to forget to attend to your own needs or to use your skills for your own wellbeing. This blog explored a couple of challenges I had encountered and overcome with a little help from myself!

Coping with Challenges 2015

I love exploring research about how relaxation effects our bodies. We often focus on the effects of stress but it is equally important to appreciate the real biological and emotional effects of relaxation. By understanding the significant way relaxing changes the body it may be easier to find time for this vital activity.

Relaxation Explored 2014

This is such a fun blog! My work involves look at a great number of feet, so these foot facts seemed suited to the website. One of my favourite is that butterflies can taste with their feet….I dread to think what my feet could taste right now in my trainers!!

Foot Facts 2014

Finally I wanted to revisit all the fun charity events I have been lucky enough to run successfully with the support of my clients and friends. I have found these events so rewarding especially feeling the genuine help and backing from everyone involved. My passion for locally available defibrillators has been important since 2012 and continues today. In this blog post I was working with Hand on Heart to provide defibrillators for local schools, which we successfully achieved!

Reflexology Fundraising 2013

I hope you have enjoyed looking back over some of these old posts, if you want to read more then keep scrolling down and keep pressing older! After looking at the many many posts I have shared over the years it is clear that focusing on what actually is present in my life is much more rewarding than looking at the things I have not yet achieved.

Mindfulness and Reflexology Blog 2019

road to future

I love mindfulness and reflexology, and I am lucky enough to enjoy a career which promotes relaxation and living in each moment, but I love a long term plan too. I find making plans can be great fun and lists can be very therapeutic, its just about keeping a balance between experiencing this present moment whilst also planning your journey for the future. With this in mind I’m going to share some plans for future blog posts here on my therapy blog.

One area of life that so many of my clients and friends talk about improving is sleep. For countless clients their poor quality sleep or insomnia limits their enjoyment of life. My friends are often exhausted and overwhelmed with the hectic nature of life, made almost impossible due to sleepless nights. I am planning to explore general advise on improving sleep, how holistic therapies can help and maybe some more quirky tricks for that much needed great nights sleep.

During the last year I have been invited to provide therapies in the work place much more frequently. I absolutely love arriving at an office environment or school to be met with enthusiastic greetings form staff looking forward to their in work reflexology or mindfulness. There has been a great deal of research on the benefits of promoting well being at work and employers are more commonly realising their role in the mental health of their workforce. I will be exploring this further during the year and hopefully visiting more and more companies to bring therapies into people’s working days.

I love working with pregnant clients and seeing mums in the postnatal period. This year I am aiming to gather more research on mindfulness in pregnancy as I believe this will be a most helpful skill for all new families. I also feel strongly that mothers in the postnatal period or fourth trimester are often placed under unrealistic levels of pressure. After childbirth our bodies are still going through huge changes and we have very special emotional and physical needs which are so often ignored. This fourth trimester is an area of maternity care which I am investigating more this year.

Mindfulness is still making an impact in the media. One area that I hope to look into is mindfulness in sport. The use of meditation and mindfulness techniques is a growing area of sports science which is exciting for both sport and the less sporty of us! Any research into optimising sport performance can be helpful for everyone as, even though I am not planning to run a marathon, knowing how to be at my best physically and mentally is clearly beneficial.

I think that is enough planning for one day, although I am sure there are many other ideas for this year running through my head….. and talking of running maybe I will think about that marathon!

Meditation in the Media

As I work with my reflexology and mindfulness meditation clients in Kidderminster and the Worcestershire area I regularly see and hear about the positive effects of meditation. I love to read articles promoting meditation, spreading the word about the benefits.

 I read with interest "10 reasons to meditate" recently in a national news paper. This brief little piece shared some great points and even covered some recent research.

  1. " It will help you relax" Meditation provides a break from everyday tasks, an opportunity to slow down and focus on breathing, free from distractions.  These few moments can allow the body to relax as well as the mind.
  2. " It might help your exam results" In a 2013 study regular meditation improved student's exam performance by boosting memory and concentration. Students saw an average of 16% increase, which really could make a difference to the final grade.
  3. "Preserve the brain" Researchers in California found that people who practiced meditation over 20 years had better preserved brains than non-meditators. The study showed their brains had more grey matter.
  4. "...or rebuild it" A 2014 study in Harvard found meditation could restore grey matter.  In as little as eight weeks changes were seen in brain tissue.
  5. "It can bring down blood pressure" Transcendental meditation has been seen to trigger the production of telomerase which is an enzyme linked to lower blood pressure.
  6. "Boost your mood" A review of almost 50 separate studies concluded that meditation can help anxiety and depression. Meditation appeared to strengthen the person's ability to regulate their feelings.
  7. "It's good for the gut" Many digestive disorders are worsened by stress. A study of women with irritable bowel syndrome found that meditation for eight weeks led to a reduction in pain, bloating and cramps.
  8. " It can help you quit smoking" A study in Texas found that smokers who meditated alongside using nicotine replacement reduced the amount of cigarettes they smoked, often without noticing! 
  9. "Shed the pounds" It is common for people to make unhealthy food choices when stress levels are high.  In 2011 a study of obese women found that meditation helped to reduce comfort eating.
  10. " And improve sleep" Meditation for only six weeks can help reduce insomnia, a study found.  The investigation found that the subjects who meditated improved more over six weeks than those on a sleep education course.

Meditation has many clear benefits for all our well being. If you would like to learn more about meditation and how it could help you then please do contact me.

 

Posted on March 21, 2017 and filed under mindfulness, stress management.

The Value of Mindfulness within Cancer Care

I have been proud to work as a volunteer reflexology practitioner and mindfulness teacher at The Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge.  There is a growing volume of evidence supporting the benefits of mindfulness for patients, their families and those working in the end of life care environment.

the mary stevens hospice

The Trish Bartley  book, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer: Gently Turning Towards, explores a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for cancer care. This eight-week course has been tried and tested over ten years of clinical use. Bartley believes

“mindfulness is a way of being more present and aware. This offers us many opportunities to appreciate life more. It also enables us to respond more gently to what we find difficult, and by doing this we often find that we experience changes”

A study in 2008 (Chadwik et al) found that mindfulness was beneficial to people with terminal cancer both physically and emotionally.  An analysis of the research available in 2005 concluded that mindfulness based intervention in cancer care had positive results, including improvements in mood, sleep quality and reductions in stress. A further review of studies in 2011 supported this finding. They found significant improvements in anxiety, depression, stress, sexual difficulties and immune function

Christopher Johns in his book, Being Mindful, Easing Suffering: Reflections on Palliative Care explains

"Mindfulness is a quality of mind that notices what is present without judgment, without interference. Being mindful guides me to see things as they really are rather than as a reflection of myself. Mindful practice is being aware of ones experience as it unfolds in its unpredictable and unique way.”

In 2005 the use of mindfulness in hospice care was examined from the perspective of the nurses. For many of the staff the changes were very significant

“Mindfulness makes me alert to what is happening……I see things that I didn’t see before, I begin to notice. For example when there is a lot of chaos in the room…..is this what she is seeing all day?”

“I think that in itself to be mindful that someone is afraid and not to reject it, not to sugar it over with something but also not be freaked out, but to really be with that feeling and to embrace it….then it seems the person can usually relax”

Mindful presence enables the nursing staff to be totally aware and focused on the circumstances she finds in the here and now, regardless of what has gone before or what will follow. It is a valuing of “being” over “doing” in the belief that compassionately being present allows the nurse to respond with empathy to the needs in that moment.

When I worked on a hospital ward during my nursing days I was often guilty of not being truly present but more concerned with my list of jobs to do. I felt that truly experiencing each moment would be overwhelming as many situations were difficult and challenging, but mindfulness has taught me that being present in the moment without trying to be in control of it is actually a great relief. To experience the moment for just what it is allows choices to be made from a place of awareness rather than habit or panic. Removing the “what should I do” and replacing it with an understanding of what is needed in that moment is very liberating. I know life is often unbearably busy on the wards and nurses are pulled in so many directions, introducing mindfulness is not easily done, but this does not mean it can’t be done. The staff at Mary Stevens Hospice are working hard to introduce mindfulness to their clients and to their own work. I truly commend them for their commitment to constantly move forward to provide the very best care.

Mindfulness, as all holistic therapies, is not a replacement for medical care but it can be included within the home, hospice or hospital setting.  For more information please visit: mindfulness explained.

You may also enjoy reading : Mindfulness in a busy Kidderminster carpark

                                                 Mindfulness Explored

                                                 Meditation and pain

 

Posted on October 18, 2016 and filed under reflexology, mindfulness, stress management.

Mindfulness in a busy Kidderminster Car park!

I may not have been on a beautiful beach, but a busy car park in Kidderminster provided me with an opportunity for calmness.

Mindfulness can mean different things to every individual who explores it but for me the essence of mindfulness is quietening my busy mind. Before I began mindfulness I believed I simply could not meditate or clear my head, it was just too full of thoughts! But now I have learnt that by focusing on the experience of being in a moment, rather than trying to clear my mind, is profoundly calming.

Last week I was waiting for a lift in Kidderminster, perched on a wall. I was initially frustrated as I would normally be independent and drive myself but  due to a back problem (now resolved)  I could not drive. I had arrived early so I didn't need to rush so I had 25 minutes on my hands. At first I did what I often do, reached for my phone and checked my emails, then I checked my schedule in my diary, thinking of lists and work to do.  Still over 20 minutes to wait. I could feel myself starting to ruminate on the issues of the day, churning over thoughts and feelings. 

I decided to put some mindfulness into practice. Firstly I focused on the sounds I could hear, just listening and not judging or hoping to change anything. Simply bringing my attention to the sounds around me. When my mind wandered, as it naturally did, I just bought it back to the area of focus I had chosen. The great thing about mindfulness is there is no self criticism involved as you can not get it wrong. It simply is whatever happens at that moment.  I found myself listening to the constant sounds then noticing the intermittent yet regular sounds. I could soon pick up on noises I had not been aware of before. 

I next took my focus of attention to my internal experience. Taking time to experience the sensations of my body, not thinking about what they meant but noticing the sensations and no more.  My mind did wander away from my chosen focus but without tutting at myself I gathered it up and focused again.  

This episode of mindfulness felt like a few minutes but when I checked my watch I realised my lift was actually late and  25 minutes had gone by. I am pretty sure if I had continued with my mind churning and ruminating I would have by now been pretty frustrated with my wait, but I felt calm and content. 

There are many aspects to mindfulness but my experience in the Kidderminster car park was a simple exercise in mindfulness. I spent my time simply being within the experience and switched off my doing busy mind. It was a lesson to me in how making plans and ticking boxes is not always the best way to feel on top of your day.

More on stress management and understanding stress.

 

Posted on April 27, 2015 and filed under hypnotherapy, stress management.

Coping with Challenges using Reflexology and Hypnotherapy

My clients often say I must be the most chilled out relaxed person as I have so many techniques at my fingertips. In some ways that is true, I am far more relaxed than I was before I began to use complementary therapies, but life still throws challenges at even the calmest people!

During the last few weeks I have taken on a number of challenges, some by choice and others have arrived uninvited! I have to admit despite my love for holistic therapies my knee jerk reaction is often panic and fear just as it always has been. The difference is now I can eventually take a step back and use some of the wonderful techniques open to me.

My first challenges was updating my website to ensure it was compatible with mobile devices. I am not a techy person so my first reaction when I learnt I needed to do this was panic and anxiety. I had a very sleepless night before I took a moment to step back and calm down. I often talk to my clients about using the support networks around them, so many of us believe we have to cope alone. After getting advice from some techy friends I felt my website mountain was not such an impossible climb. I also took time out to use some confidence boosting self hypnosis and some mindfulness to encourage  kindness to myself. Gradually I began to enjoy the challenge and although there are still some things to iron out I am proud of myself for rising to the challenge. 

The next challenge was one I had chosen to embark on. Last year I tried twice to complete a 'leap of faith', this entails climbing up a tall post, standing on a small platform and jumping off ( you have safety equipment on of course!). I was so frustrated that twice i had reached the top and twice I had failed to stand up. I was determined to succeed this time. I used EFT to prepare myself for the task along with using the power of my imagination to really see myself succeeding. These both helped me to believe I could do it. And i did it!  The pride I felt was immense and I hope I've saved that feeling firmly in my memory to call on whenever I need a boost.

Leap of Faith at Condover Hall 2014...I couldn't stand up on the platform.

Leap of Faith at Condover Hall 2014...I couldn't stand up on the platform.

My third challenge was not something I chose at all. With a simple sneeze I damaged my back and have spent a frustrating week with little mobility and a fair dose of pain. As usual I spent the first day or so completely forgetting about the resources I have to help myself. After getting checked by my GP to ensure I hadn't seriously damaged any nerves etc I began using reflexology to help myself. Reaching my feet was hard at first so I just enjoyed some relaxing warm foot soaks with calming essential oils. Once I could finally get my hands on my feet I was shocked by how much tenderness I found. My spine and hip reflexes were all very painful but I did feel the discomfort was worth it.  I felt an improvement in my movement although I am still a long way off full mobility.  I also tackled my frustration with daily mindfulness meditation. This really has kept me grounded and held my annoyance at bay.

Challenges can be chosen or land in your laps when you least expect them. I wanted to share how a therapist copes with difficulties because I believe it is important for my clients to know two things 

  1. I am human just like them and I can be completely daunted by life's difficulties and feel that I do not have the ability to rise to the challenge
  2. After my panic passes I do practice what I preach because I believe truly in all the therapies I provide.