Individuals 8 week course
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In this opening week of the course we look at the exponential interest and growth of Mindfulness in recent years. We observe how developments in neuroscience research have enhanced this interest and learn of the many benefits of Mindfulness, as shown by research. We learn what exactly Mindfulness is and how to practice it. In particular, we examine how we can integrate Mindfulness seamlessly into our daily lives, so that it doesn't become an extra thing to do on an already overly full 'To Do' list. We explore the automatic pilot and the negativity bias of the mind, learning how both nature itself and evolution have led to brain functioning that may at times thwart our best attempts to be mindful. Lastly, this week we introduce one of the basic, yet most popular mindfulness meditations - the Mindfulness of Breath Meditation.
In week 2 we will explore research from the field of Neuroscience that gives scientific evidence of the benefits of Mindfulness. In that we will also examine the concept of Neuroplasticity, which is the brain's amazing ability to change and adapt. Having investigated brain functioning we will move into the area of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, which further examines how the mind works - a key element being the connection between thoughts, feelings and body sensations. In examining how these are interlinked we will see how these feed off each other in a constant feedback loop, creating our moment to moment emotional states. We also explore how to free the mind from Worry which is ever-present in modern day living. Following on from week 1 we will continue focusing on gratitude and its positive effects on our well-being. Lastly, we will introduce one of the core mindfulness meditations - the Body Scan.
In week 3 we once again look at elements of the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Programme and explore how the common unhelpful negative thinking styles can sabotage our mindfulness practice. We additionally look at how rumination can be a source of great emotional unhappiness and how to counteract this. We examine research into the area of Gratitude and how increasingly gratitude is being identified as a powerful psychological tool for wellbeing. As the field of Mindfulness matures it is recognised that different types of mindfulness are suitable for different types of people and situations. This week we introduce the walking meditation, which is generally suitable and enjoyed by all clients, who have the physical fitness to complete it. In line with current research which highlights a growing need for shorter mindfulness tools we also introduce a mini-meditation, the Three Minute Breathing Space.
In week 4 we again explore the importance of short, informal Mindfulness practices which can help integrate mindfulness seamlessly into daily life.. We begin to look at how to include elements from Positive Psychology into our Mindfulness practice in order to achieve deeper levels of Mindfulness, known as Flow. Having learned of the Flow state, we then explore what activities we can include in our own lives, to discover which of these lead us into a state of Flow. Similar to week 3, this week's meditation departs from the typical Mindfulness meditations and offers a less structured meditation practice, one which focuses on random sounds and thoughts.
In week 5 we again explore the Automatic Pilot of the mind and how in releasing some of those habits we begin to gain conscious control of our everyday patterns.. We begin to look at elements of compassion and measure our current levels of self-compassion. Additionally we explore ways of introducing activities which can help support self-compassion. We explore the Relaxation Response and see how this boosts our emotional and psychological wellbeing. Similar to earlier weeks, this week's meditation departs from the typical Mindfulness meditations and offers an external guided meditation practice, one which focuses on the strength and solidity of the mountain.
In week 6 we begin by exploring how much of the details of ordinary life we may be missing when we fail to pay attention. We then deepen our understanding of the cognitive aspect of the Mindfulness based programs where we self-examine which thoughts may be facts or opinions. This leads us to learn of the various types of stress and what we can do to reduce stress in our lives. Through the completion of the 'Pleasant Events Calendar' we continue to 'grow the good' in our lives and experience the benefits in body and mind as we choose where to direct our attention. Lastly, we introduce the Loving Kindness Meditation, a very popular meditation, and one which Mindfulness leaders believe will have a truly positive effect on the world.
In week 7 we begin by introducing tools from Positive Psychology, which studies the science of happiness and wellbeing. Positive Psychology has departed from the way in which psychology has traditionally been problem focused, and instead studies what happy people do and questions whether these methods can be taught to others in order to enhance their happiness levels. With this in mind, we firstly introduce the Positivity Ratio and how this helps overcome the negativity bias of the mind. We then complete the Positive Lifeline Exercise in order to 'grow the good' of using the existing positive events in our unconscious minds to grow stronger, positive neural pathways in our brains. This is further expanded by the completion of the Memory Enhancement exercise which solidifies the memories from the Positive Lifeline. Both exercises help us continue to 'grow the good' in our lives and experience the benefits in body and mind as we choose where to direct our attention. We then reflect on the changes contemporary Mindfulness leaders expect to see in the world as a result of the exponential growth in Mindfulness. And finally, we introduce another very powerful meditation practice - The Lake Meditation, one which promotes calm and wellbeing.
In Week 8, the final week of our Mindfulness for Wellbeing course, we continue our mindfulness journey by assessing our current levels of Mindful awareness, having completed the eight week course. We ask how can we weave mindfulness into our lives in a way that will make it sustainable as a long-term practice. In other words, how do we integrate mindfulness into our lives in a seamless way, in order to make our life a Mindful Life?We introduce our final meditation of this part of the course, a lengthier meditation practice, which aims to expand consciousness and awareness - the Expanded Awareness Meditation.
And finally, in the Course Conclusion we explore how the various aspects of Mindfulness, CBT and Positive Psychology dovetail together, which will encourage you to integrate all these learnings into your daily life, thus bringing about a Mindful Life for you thereby helping to bring about the change that the Mindfulness leaders speak about for our world.