How mindfulness will help you stay strong

Are you able to deal with the stresses and strains of life?

Go to the profile of Frances A Masters
Feb 12, 2018
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Ups and downs are a normal and natural part being human. Life does not travel in a straight line; is not a plateau but a series of valleys and hills. But it can be tough, especially if you feel you’ve been stuck in the valley for too long. Sometimes we just have to stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other.


A little while ago, I wrote a guided meditation for Sally, a young woman who had lost touch with her inner strength and lost faith in her own ability to cope. Her mother and brother had both died in a car accident. Her marriage was in trouble. Sally was beginning to crumble under the weight of her grief.


She made good progress as we worked together over 5 weeks and started to feel more positive but, just at the point of returning to work, she had a wobble. We started to practice meditation together. It helped her to stop fearing the future and accept there were things she could not control no matter how much she worried about them.

Surrender

Mindfulness meditation is about surrender rather than demand. It is not about forcing things to go our way. It is relaxing into the way things are. It’s letting go.


It’s a time when we can rest in the presence of our breath, our body and our emotions with a detached, kind and gentle curiosity and in doing so; we befriend our breath, our body and our emotions.
We befriend ourselves.


This is one of the meditations I wrote for Sally. It’s designed to be spoken or read slowly and with periods of silence for introspection and insight.


 The therapeutic suggestions are in bold as are the embedded seven pillars of mindfulness as outlined by MBSR creator Jon Kabat Zin. I wrote a haiku for Sally too and that is at the end:

Guided mountain meditation

Either close the eyes, or half close the eyes, soft focusing on an area of floor about two feet in front of you:
Begin to notice the breath, saying silently ‘I am breathing in, I am breathing out.’

As you follow the breath you might notice warmth or coolness as it passes over the upper lip


After a little while, the out breath may naturally extend as you begin to relax


Observe the breath as it moves down the diaphragm and then gently back up again.


Set aside the focus on the breath and simply begin to notice the rise and fall of the abdomen allowing the attention to ride and rest where it will


In your mind’s eye, bring up an image of a mountain


And, as you begin to pay attention to the mountain, you might notice its shape


It may be a small, wide mountain or a tall, narrow mountain. It doesn’t matter for, as you look more closely at the mountain, you may have a sense of it being the most beautiful, graceful and elegant mountain you have ever seen


And this mountain has a secret; it has been here since time began and the mountain has been a witness to many things


As you observe the mountain, you might notice how the sun passes over it, creating pools of light and shadow and, as the sun sets, how it is gently illuminated by the soft glow of the moon
Each day passes in this way


The mountain does not judge the day or the night, does not prefer one to the other, does not cling to the heat of the sun or the coolness of the moon, does not pull or push


The mountain appreciates both sun and moon, day and night, with a simple yet immovable presence
And so it is with the seasons: as you observe the mountain, you might notice how the green leaves on the trees, rooted in its crags and crevices, bathed in the full sun of summer, begin to redden and wither and fall to the ground.


In time, autumn transitions to winter. Now snow caps the top of the mountain and cloud descends
And the mountain is silent and still with a wise strength that knows there is no need to fight the wind or repel the rain and in this way remains free from pain and free from suffering, trusting in the rhythm of the seasons and waiting to emerge from behind those passing clouds as the frozen earth is caressed by the first rays of early spring sunshine


The mountain is patient and present to each moment. It knows there is no reason to hurry. The buds on the trees will unfold in their own time


And isn’t it amazing how you can be an observer of the mountain in all its detail, moving in close to see the crags and crevices, the buds on the trees as they emerge, the little spring flowers bursting through the warming ground


And, if you wish, you can travel in your imagination, around to the other side of the mountain and see it for the very first time as though seeing with new eyes, perhaps noticing how different it seems from this new

perspective


And you can, if you wish, in your imagination, drift into the mountain, become the mountain and have a sense of the mountain, with its solid base, like your seated base of hips and legs that extend firmly to the floor


Your spine and neck and head can extend tall like the lofty peaks of the mountain

We can all be like the mountain with its patience, trust and acceptance

We can be a witness to our experience and see with new eyes

We can choose to let go of attachment and striving

We can set judgement aside and understand there are things we cannot control.

We can accept times of darkness and winter chill

We can stay strong and steady

We can trust and wait for the sun to shine again

The mountain knows a secret

The air does not breathe

Water has no mind to swim

Snow is simply snow

Mindfulness Based Mind Management (advanced MBSR), solution focus, guided visualisation, addiction, epigenetics, mapping the connectome, polyvagal theory, the reticular activating system (RAS), secondary gain, trauma resolution, coaching for kids, treating depression, worrying well, working SMART, therapeutic stories, insight, psycho education, suicide prevention, affirmations, positive mental rehearsal, imagery, dissociation, goal setting, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, motivational thinking, lifting depression, the happiness principle, resilience and resourcefulness, human flourishing, anchoring, rewiring your brain, the STOP System, the SAFE SPACE happiness recipe, holistic coaching and working on the continuum of wellbeing plus many other professional theories, tools and techniques underpin the content of the fast paced, fast track, Fusion training programmes. 

Go to the profile of Frances A Masters

Frances A Masters

Psychotherapist, Coach, Writer. Live your best life.

Do you want to be happier and more resilient? Some people seem to just 'bounce back' no matter what life throws at them. We can't choose many of life's events but we certainly do have a choice about how we respond. My passion for mental health began 25 years ago when I suffered postnatal depression and realised the help I needed simply wasn't there. The pills didn't work. In fact they made things worse. What I really needed was to understand how anxiety, depression and emotional ill health can develop. I needed to learn good 'mind management' skills which would act like a 'psychological inoculation' against future problems. When I recovered, I made a decision to find out how and why I had become so depressed and made a personal pledge to do something to provide the kind of help for others which I had needed. I wanted to prevent people suffering unnecessarily. So I embarked on a personal and professional journey and, along the way, developed a brand new approach to health and well-being. My journey began with four years of traditional counselling training, followed by a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapy. I studied cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, coaching and cognitive neuroscience. I built up 30,000 hours professional experience which I brought together into the new happiness and resilience programme l named 'Fusion.' I also wrote a book about how to resolve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), founded a therapeutic coaching charity and trained volunteers to work in this new way. This training programme would later become the nationally accredited Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Diploma and Distance Learning Skills Certificate. Now... The journey continues. Now I want to reveal all my professional secrets about good mind management to as many people as possible through social media and by training Fusion Breakthrough trainers from all over the world. One of them could be you... Something new.. Something different.. Something which lasts.. What if you could experience one day which could actually change your life for good; giving you your own eureka moment; not only helping you create a vision of the life you want to live, but actually give you the real skills to get there and stay there? Fusion is a tried and tested system which combines the best of psychotherapy and coaching into a powerful new formula for lasting change. My aim is to help and empower as many people as possible to feel their best, be their best and live their best lives. Perhaps I could help you too....

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