My name is Will and I am delighted to have been invited to contribute to this online community with my blog all about mindfulness.
As a mindfulness coach based here in Cambridge (UK), I work with adults and young people in a variety of settings - teaching practical skills for improving well-being, supporting better mental health and developing fitter, happier minds.
It’s a privilege to do this work of introducing people to mindfulness when I consider what a positive impact it has made to my life (more on that later) and I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the Firefly Community about your experiences with mindfulness and meditation.
Mindfulness and You
Practicing mindfulness develop a greater awareness of ourselves - our ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.
Through meditation we practice a new relationship to what we experience internally and externally - a relationship in which we have more capacity to consciously choose our response rather than react automatically fuelled by impulse.
This can have profound effects on well-being, on resilience to life’s challenges and even on the quality of our relationships - three things I know to be especially important in the everyday lives of caregivers.
We know that there is a growing global mental health challenge among people of all ages and backgrounds and we are increasingly seeing people open up about their need for support.
You may not be surprised to hear that a survey from the Carers UK 2014 Policy Briefing concluded that ‘the pressures of caring can take a toll on carer’s physical and mental health’.
Statistics indicate that ‘92% said that caring has had a negative impact on their mental health, including stress and depression’.
We all require tools for managing our minds - nobody is immune to stress, anxiety or depression - but especially for those of us with demanding responsibilities to other people this appears to be an essential, not a luxury.
From Coping to Thriving
So mindfulness is a way of training the mind to be more present, more focused and to become our ally rather than our enemy.
Yes, mindfulness has been clinically proven to help us cope with difficulties but it’s just as important to emphasise this - mindfulness enables us to engage more fully with the life we have, to wake up to our life right now, to become more effective and ultimately to thrive.
This Blog - What to Expect
Just like the mindfulness classes I teach, this blog aims to be engaging, practical and grounded in real-life - giving you the understanding and tools to implement mindfulness into your day.
So we have lots to talk about!
A few things you can expect:
- an introduction to the basics of mindfulness
- step-by-step instructions for meditation
- guided audio exercises to listen to and follow at home or on the move
- mindful missions: mini ‘missions’, exercises and activities to implement into your week and notice the effect
- online mindfulness webinar/class for members of the Firefly Community to meditate together live!
We will also discuss how mindfulness might support you with the challenges you face at home, in your relationships, in family life, at work and in the ongoing balancing act of keeping all these plates spinning!
Mindfulness and Special Needs Parenting
Some of the recurring themes arising from conversations in the online community include:
- chronic stress and anxiety
- sleep problems
- feelings of isolation
- balancing the needs of others with own needs
- finding the energy to keep going
- guilt about needing to take care of one's own well-being too
- the need for self-compassion
- acceptance of the way things are
Everyone has their own unique experience of life, let alone parenting or indeed special needs parenting.
But all of the above (and more) are very normal experiences to go through and can certainly be supported by giving yourself the opportunity to explore a different way of being. Mindfulness can offer that.
It would be great to hear from you about so about your personal experiences so I welcome your reflections on the various topics I cover.
Let’s explore together using the blog as a space in which to share everyday experiences - how family life impacts upon our well-being, how we can breathe some clarity and calm into the day through mindfulness practice - and reflect on this journey.
You may be surprised just how many people out there resonate with your story.
The next post is a practical one:
A step-by-step guide for a simple mindfulness of breath meditation.
Facebook: Will George Mindfulness