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Do you feel that you are in a daily battle with your pain?
Is your mind full of thoughts, fears, frustrations or muddle?
Do you feel like you are always rushing?
Do you hate the idea of “accepting your pain” or “coming to terms with it”?
Mindfulness can help you find a calmer way to live life despite having pain.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is merely paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. It is based on meditation practice which helps you
- Allow your mind to settle more in the present moment
- Accept what is here, for better or worse
- Let go of fruitless and exhausting struggles
- Focus your energy on the things that we can change.
- Mindfulness doesn’t remove uncomfortable situations from our lives, but to help us relate to them in a different way.
Mindfulness meditation has been used for thousands of years within the Buddhist tradition. The benefits of meditation practice for health and wellbeing have been researched, and now a non-religious version of the mindfulness approach is widely offered by the NHS as part of effective healthcare.
Recommended Mindfulness resources
If you would like to find out more about Mindfulness, there are some very good resources available. Here are a few we recommend:
Online Video Resources
An introduction to mindfulness (Mindfulnet.org, 3 mins)
‘About mindfulness’ (Dumfries & Galloway’s, 7 mins)
BBC News (David Sillito, 3 mins)
All it takes is 10 mindful minutes (Andy Puddicombe, 9 mins)
Click here to access helpful information on the Head Space website about mindfulness.
Click here to access helpful information on the Breathworks website about mindfulness.
- ‘Mindfulness for Health’ by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman
- ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
How do you learn to be more Mindful?
Learning to be more mindful requires a little teaching and a lot of practice.
Many people find attending a course helps them to understand mindfulness more and start practising meditation regularly.
You can find courses online via this Breathworks link or ask in the library for help to find local courses in your area. There is a course run at the St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire.
Gloucestershire NHS Mindfulness Course
The Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service offers an NHS course specifically tailored for people with persistent pain. Two team members are accredited Breathworks Mindfulness teachers. The course involves attending eight weekly half-day sessions in a group, and daily meditation practice at home. It is based on the Breathworks ‘Mindfulness for Health’ book by Burch and Penman which is available from most book retailers or via Gloucestershire County Council libraries. Please note, the book states that mindfulness often makes pain and stress ‘dissolve’. Although mindfulness can be extremely helpful, most people in our experience have found that it does not necessarily have a dramatic impact on their pain levels.
People attending the Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service Mindfulness course will have been referred to the Gloucestershire Chronic Pain Service by their GP or another Health Care Professional.
Below are some comments by previous attendees on our Mindfulness course:
“Mindfulness has brought me a peace and contentment with my situation that I have not experienced for many years.”
"I was fairly sceptical as to its usefulness for me and my pain and to what level it might help me. After a few weeks and investing the time, I found it truly helpful in changing my attitude to my sensation."
Another book recommended by the Gloucestershire Pain Self-Management Service is ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’; it is available via Gloucestershire County Council libraries. It includes a CD of meditations and we feel can be especially useful when people have busy, stressful lives.
If you'd like to give Mindfulness a try, there are many exercises available on the internet. Here are some Mindfulness exercises that we recommend:
There are a number of Mindfulness apps suitable for Android and Apple/IoS devices, some of these are free or provide free introductions such as Head Space.
Finding Peace in a Frantic World is a website which provides helpful meditations matched to the book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman we recommended before.
Mindfulness meditations - these are MP3 tracks to play online or download.