Richard's February Blog

Friday, 28 February 2014

I return from three weeks in South America to find that mindfulness has taken over the western world. Everyone’s doing it – politicians, probation clients, Transport for London, even the US Army (will Mindful soldiers in a state of “relaxed, non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts, feelings and sensations” be better at soldiering? I’m intrigued).

Mindfulness used to be practised and passed on by only a few psychologists; now it’s become the antidote of choice to the stresses and strains of modern life. Plus it’s both evidence-based and rooted in 2,500 years of Buddhist teaching - so doubly virtuous. I’m not sure Buddhists are allowed to be smug, but this may be their moment for a modest smile, albeit a mindful one. My own advice from checking out a mindfulness CD a few years ago in the car – don’t put it on the CD player and drive at the same time – it’s dangerously effective.

I love hearing how people describe their experiences with Solent Mind. We’ve been running an insomnia course at italk (our psychological therapies service run in partnership with Southern Health NHS Trust) for a while now, and one of our patients – Sarah Jones – took the trouble to post her experiences and what she’d learned on her personal blog. Insomnia can be a miserable affliction but Sarah describes – following the guidance on the course – getting herself into a slightly sleep deprived state and limiting the amount of time she spends trying to sleep until, she says, “your poor body is so tired that it has no option than to learn how to sleep”.

“It's horrid, difficult, hard work, but I'm now sleeping! I've gone from less than five disjointed hours of poor quality light sleep per night, where I'd wake several times between 9 pm and 6 am, to sleeping solidly most nights for about six and a half hours, between 10:30 pm and 5:30 am. I'm so grateful to the team at italk for teaching me how to do this!”

The italk team may not thank me for this advert – they’ve been inundated with referrals since rolling out the new services into Basingstoke and east Hants, so please bear with them if you don’t get an answer straightaway. But with sky high satisfaction levels and this sort of testimony I couldn’t resist... Check out https://www.italk.org.uk/ and – for Sarah’s full account; http://www.bondgate.org/2014/02/im-alright-getting-to-sleep-but.html