Beginning my Mindfulness Journey
Over the last month, I have been exploring and researching the benefits of meditation and specifically mindfulness.
I first tried meditation about 14 years ago when I decided to take a course at the Brighton Buddhist centre.
Once I had completed the course for a short period of time I managed to develop a regular practice but after a while life got busy and my meditation practice slowly got left behind.
Fast forward nearly 15 years and I have since trained in various forms of massage as well as Anatomy Trains Structural Integration (formally KMI) and run a successful private practice.
My work combines Deep Tissue Massage and Myofascial Release techniques, and I help many people with various muscle aches, pains, and injuries as well as postural imbalances and stress-related symptoms.
Over my time as a Massage and Structural Integration practitioner, I have observed that a lot of the problems that my clients suffer from are often related to stress in its various forms.
A lot of these stresses are from daily life in the modern world, whether it is due to sitting for too many hours at a desk, driving too much or repetitive manual work. I myself am not immune to the same stresses and noticed that I can get easily frustrated and anxious when life gets busy.
After a while of seeing my anxiety levels running a bit high, I decided to do something to help myself, and after some research and reading, I came across the app “Headspace” by Andy Puddicombe.
The app was developed to help busy people find some headspace by using traditional meditation techniques like mindfulness. Initially, I was a little unsure about the idea of having a smartphone app to help me get headspace after all my smartphone was also a contributing cause of some of the stress and anxiety I was feeling but I decided to give it a go.
As I began my mindfulness practice using the app which I highly recommend, I also started to research more about the positive effects that a meditation practice can have and was very surprised to find that there have been a lot of studies and scientific research done on its benefits
One of the major benefits was the evidence of how effective it is at reducing stress-related conditions. Studies have shown that it activates parts of the brain related to happiness that it can reduce negative emotions and anxiety.
In one study done by the University of Massachusetts Medical School on how mindfulness can reduce general anxiety levels, 90% of the participants documented significant reductions in their anxiety and depression after eight weeks of practice.
Three years later the researchers did a follow-up and the participants were still feeling the benefits of the initial study.
With the help of the Headspace App, I have now been maintaining my daily practice for just over a month and have definitely noticed positive benefits in my ability to manage stress and anxiety, as well as better quality sleep.
I believe that if more people could fit some regular mindfulness practice into their daily lives that stress levels would drop and their bodies would cope with the demands put upon them much better.
Not only is a regular practice of mindfulness having positive benefits for me personally but it is also improving my relationships with those in my life on both a personal and professional level as well as allowing me to be more present when working and helping my clients.