As we launch into 2017 we find ourselves reflecting on last year, the things that went well and those that did not go so well. Have you ever noticed that you often seem to spend more time thinking about the things that did not go so well – the relationship problems, the sadness of losing someone close, the disappointments at work, the struggles of our children… and so it goes.
Our minds are very good at ruminating, going over and over the bad stuff as though it will be able to reshape the past and make it better. Minds are also pretty good at worrying – worrying about what might happen – what if they restructure my job… my parents start to get too frail to live on their own… my teenagers get into trouble….and so on. Have you noticed that when your mind is getting up to these sorts of activities, usually it is when you have become distracted from a task or you are not busy with something – your mind has dropped into mind-wandering mode.
Mindfulness training is designed to help with bringing awareness to the different modalities of the mind; training it to able to refocus in the present – and strangely I find that in this present moment – this exact moment of now, there is most often nothing wrong.
So, as you move into this brand new year consider taking on some mindfulness training – serious mindfulness training – training that requires effort and determination just as you would expect if you were taking up a physical fitness training program. You would expect your fitness trainer to tell you to train every day for 40-60 minutes at a time. Training the mind is similar – if you want to change habit patterns that your mind has developed over time you will need to spend time learning new ones!
As you can see we are offering a range of programs and support activities again this year. Excitingly we are also conducting some programs for a research trial. The trial is formal research trial through Monash University and we will invite eligible volunteers to receive the program at no monetary cost. They will be asked to complete a series of measures throughout the program and at six months follow-up. We will post more information on this very soon. This will be an important study and can enhance the evidence base for the use of mindfulness in psychological therapy.