Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Clear Emotional Blockages with Mindfulness

Inner Space Hypnotherapy 

When a drain is blocked, nothing flows through, things become stagnated and very soon the whole system backs up.  Emotional blockages are a bit like that and life can become stagnant when emotions become trapped.  All emotion is energy and if it is not flowing freely it can cause blockages which may manifest in a variety of symptoms such as stress, anxiety, pain, depression, fatigue or insomnia.  

Mindfulness can help to clear emotional blockages so you can regain a sense of balance.   It can also make you sharper and more efficient; it can ease pain and suffering; it can deeply enhance the feeling of joy and happiness.  You can be released from the grip of trapped emotions. 

The pace of life seems to get faster and faster.  For many there is too much to do and too little time.  On the other hand, people with too much time on their hands can become bored and lethargic; busses seem to come in threes – or not at all.  Life is like that sometimes, everything is happening at once or nothing at all is going on.  I often reach that stage of having too much to do but too little time to do it and I just have to tell myself to stop, take a breath and slow down. 

It can often seem that everything is a priority, work, home, family, friends, exercise – but how do we fit everything in?  We all have 24 hours in each day but for people under too much strain, it doesn’t take much to tip the balance into illness or chaos.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of chasing your tail, always playing catch up with one thing or the other and feeling pressure to keep up.  This can become a habit and our brains are good at learning how things are meant to be, by our habits.  It makes sense to practice habits that are going to make life better.  Mindfulness is one such habit.

By slowing down and practising mindfulness every day, you actually gain more time – how does that work? Well of course we can’t change the clock but we can slow down the process of brain ageing, according to science.  

Whenever you do something over and over again, it leads to changes in the brain; this process is known as neuroplasticity.  The neurons can change how they communicate with each other, with experience (by doing it over and over again). 

It therefore makes sense to learn the habit of being mindful, looking at things in a non-judgemental way and becoming an observer of how we respond to situations, how our thoughts affect our physiology and how the environment can be a trigger for a chemical reaction in the brain.

As most people grow older, brain material known as "grey matter" decreases, however MRI scans on the brains of people who engage in meditation or mindfulness for about 40 minutes a day show a significant difference. Thousands of research studies have been conducted showing that mindfulness meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain (slowing down the ageing process).

A second benefit of mindfulness meditation is that it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system into action, releasing calming hormones that neutralise harmful stress hormones produced by the sympathetic nervous system (the fight of flight chemicals). 

And there is third benefit of practicing mindfulness meditation daily – it establishes the new habit of becoming an observer.  As I mentioned before, the neurons in the brain learn from experience, so becoming an observer of what is going on brings about a state of detachment, a natural state of being, which in turn leads to an overall feeling of calm when dealing with whatever life throws at us.  When we are calm, we are more efficient and can make decisions based on the observed facts, rather than an emotional response.

The key words to remember when becoming mindful are awareness, attention, observation, acceptance and non-judgement.  When we practice mindfulness we become more aware of all aspects of the experience of living.  We recognise how our thoughts and understanding can impact our health and quality of life. We see that we give meaning to situations and that we can just as easily give a different meaning which in turn changes our experience.

Mindful meditation can be used in programs such as stress reduction, relapse prevention, weight loss, addictions, emotional intelligence, or purely to enhance the quality of life. 

Mindfulness can be defined as a full engagement with the present moment.  We can compare this to the experience of mindlessness that occurs when awareness is scattered due to preoccupation with past memories or future plans or worries, which, in turn, leads to a limited awareness and attention to the experience of the present moment.

Enhance your life experience by practising Seven Steps to mindfulness:

Step One
Sit quietly and become aware of your surroundings in an objective, non-judgemental way, tuning into the whole experience and noticing everything you can notice.

Step Two
Focus your attention on one thing you see and describe it to yourself in detail – size, shape, colour, distance from you, the relationship you might have with it, how it is used and anything else you can think of.  When you have done that, move on and do the same with two other things in your environment.

Step Three
Become aware of a sound you can hear and describe it to yourself in detail, as above; When you have done that, move on and do the same with two other sounds in your environment.

Step Four
Become aware of something that is touching you, for example the air on your face as you breathe in or whatever your hands are resting on.  Take your time and describe your experience of touch to yourself in detail and move on to do the same with another two things.

Step Five
Tune into your physical body and become curious as to how it works.  Spend a few moments on each part and notice the beating of your heart, the rhythm of your lungs, the magnificence of your brain and all other organs in your body.  Imagine your bones, veins, muscles and millions of cells all working together in harmony. 

Step Six
Tune into your emotions and acknowledge what you are feeling in the present moment.  Ask yourself how you know that, what symptoms are signalling those feelings? For example your breath might be slow and deep signalling relaxation or it might be fast and shallow signalling tension. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and ask yourself what other situations do you feel that? Become an observer as if you are outside looking in and allow your feelings to express themselves in a way that you can understand.

Step Six
Next, tune into your thoughts.  What are the predominant thoughts going through your mind, do your thoughts have a pattern? Where does one thought end and the next thought begin? What is the quality of your thoughts? Are they mostly positive or negative? are they random or deliberate? Notice how your thoughts affect you.  Be the observer of how different thoughts create different outcomes.

Step Seven
Now become aware of your body as a whole, a complete system, each part working in harmony and balance with all the other parts.   When you are out of balance that system sends a signal telling you to do something about it, to take action.  Become aware of any imbalance you might notice, in a detached way, and ask your observing self what it is telling you.   Allow any thoughts or feelings to surface and invite your subconscious mind to send you a signal.  You may find you are presented with an idea, or a call to action, or you may just enjoy the gentle flow of your experience.  Thank your subconscious mind and take on board whatever it is you need to move forward.

When you have completed this exercise, stretch your body and acknowledge anything different you notice.

At Inner Space Hypnotherapy, I teach my clients how to apply mindfulness to a wide variety of issues.  If you would like more information or help with any other problem, please give me a call or e-mail me.  I offer a free no obligation telephone consultation. 

Visit my website for more information:  www.innerspacehypnotherapy.co.uk

Mary Bowmer

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