mindfulness meditationDoes Mindfulness Meditation really help reduce stress?

“Yes!” says Amanda who was signed off work with stress last year, and has transformed her approach to stress through treatment from her Doctor alongside regular mindfulness workshops and a 5-week mindfulness meditation course at Theale Wellbeing Centre, near Reading.

She talks about the changes.  “ At first the sessions finally helped me to relax, but with time and practice they have really helped me shift my mindset towards work and pressures at home, to find better ways to not just manage my stress but take action to stop it building to such unhealthy levels in the first place.”

Mindfulness meditation is frequently under the spot light with research from Harvard University showing powerful links between meditation and reduced stress and anxiety. Much like physical exercise and its impact on our health – it’s not a quick fix – i.e. you can’t run once a year and have a perfect physique.  But those who practice regular mindfulness meditation are calmer and able to manage pressures in life with less stress and anxiety.  Research from Dr Sara Lazar shows how mindfulness meditation makes this possible by physically changing our brains so we experience less anxiety and fear.

Current research has found that no medicines yet actually address the hormone that is the root cause of stress…cortisol.  While you can take a plethora of medicines to reduce the symptoms stress hormones have on our bodies – like betablockers for lowering blood pressure and insulin for diabetes. Tackling the root cause of stress requires a different approach.

From massage and reflexology to sooth body and mind, to the calming experience of mindfulness meditation, to more in depth therapies such as counselling and hypnotherapy – is it time you explored ways to have a positive impact on your wellbeing and reduce your stress levels?

Today our blog showcases mindfulness meditation for reducing stress – not just through the science but with short stories on how Theale Wellbeing Centre clients have been enjoying the stress relieving impacts of Mindfulness Meditation with our Meditation Teacher Judy Claughton from BalanceTime.

Peter attended the Two Hour Holiday meditation workshop to help tackle his stress and anxiety at work and comments:

“I attended the 2 hour holiday as a complete mindfulness and meditation novice, I was a bit nervous and I’ll admit quite sceptical about whether it could help me with my anxiety. Judy put me completely at ease, explained everything really well and the meditations really helped me ‘get away’. With help from the regular workshops BalanceTime run at Theale Wellbeing Centre I now use the techniques I have learnt daily and as a result I am sleeping a lot better, am far less anxious (as I now have some tools to calm me down) and find time to really appreciate smells, sights and sounds in everyday life!”

Elizabeth had used meditation and mindfulness in her past but recently found with pressures at work and looking after her family that she couldn’t find time for it.  She came along to a series of workshops to help her find some time for herself and to balance her stress levels. “By learning new techniques and reminding myself of others, plus discovering easy ways to practice these lovely exercises daily, has reminded me the importance of mindfulness in my life.  I have been able to reduce my blood pressure tablets – I still need to take them – but my dose has halved – I am certain these mindfulness exercises are a big part of the reason why. Thanks Judy for helping remind me how to make mindfulness meditation a part of my day”.

Claudia has been attending Judy’s mindfulness workshops throughout the last six months and adds “I’ve learnt some techniques that really help me with stress and managing pain from an injury.  But I do love dropping into the sessions for a wonderful way to refocus on me and enjoy a calm-inducing hour or two – and be left with a feeling of rest and rejuvenation to last me all week.”

The next stress busting mindfulness meditation workshop is on Tuesday 21st March when participants can enjoy a Two Hour Holiday to help them to unwind and relax. Suitable for both beginners and those with some mindfulness meditation experience looking for a small group practice.   The small group workshop is a playful blend of relaxation exercises with a few tastes of holiday.  Although a group workshop – the meditative practice is your own. The next five week course on mindfulness meditation starts on 2nd May – contact Theale Wellbeing Centre or BalanceTime to find out more/or to book.

Note – to protect our clients identities names have been changed.  You can see more referrals at www.facebook.com/timeforbalance.

Judy Claughton, Mindfulness Meditation Trainer