Norwich Mindfulness
Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to sit on the floor?

Do I have to "empty my mind" to meditate?

Can mindfulness help with depression or other mental health conditions?

I suffer with chronic low mood or low-level anxiety. Which course would be better for me?

Will  I have to sit on the floor?
You can sit on a chair (or the floor if you want) lie down or stand for the meditation practices. We will discuss posture and provide a range of mats, foam blocks and blankets to help you find a posture that best suits you. If you experience chronic pain then you will be encouraged to find a posture that does not cause any additional pain and ideally relieves it somewhat. You will also be encouraged to move during the practices and the session if pain builds up due to staying still. There is a continuous emphasis on being kind to yourself so you won't be asked to sit in any way or for any length of time that causes additional discomfort.

Do I have to "empty my mind" to meditate?
No. Mindfulness meditation is about learning to understand what goes on in our minds so noticing what the mind is doing, what thoughts are coming and going, is an important part of all the meditation practices. You will learn to pay attention to one thing at a time but you won't be asked to "empty your mind".

Can mindfulness help with depression or other mental health conditions?

If you are currently experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition you should wait until you are well before starting a group-based Mindfulness course. There are several reasons for this but, primarily, following this advice will allow you to get a lot more from the course and help you establish a Mindfulness practice to sustain your mental wellbeing for the rest of your life.

A particular type of mindfulness course called MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) is recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) for preventing relapse in people who have experienced recurrent depression. This is available in Norfolk and Waveny via the
Wellbeing Service

Neither of the courses taught by Norwich Mindfulness are recommended for anyone who is currently experiencing symptoms of depression or any other mental illness. This is simply because research has shown that the type of course provided is not beneficial to those experiencing mental illness. This does not mean that mindfulness will be of no use to you. Some practices taught one-to-one by a professional with the relevant mindfulness, mental health and CBT qualifications can be helpful for some people. Also, those who have already practiced mindfulness for some time may find it continues to be of use during periods of illness. Mental illness or health is of course a spectrum and so, if your symptoms are very mild and your condition has been stable for at least a year, you may be able to benefit from one of the two courses. If this is the case I would recommend the following.

Firstly, ask your GP or other relevant health-care professional to review your mental health and for their opinion, if they feel qualified to give it, on whether you might benefit from a mindfulness course. It is helpful if you have experienced depression or anxiety to have had at least a 6 week course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) before taking either course and this should be available via your GP or you can self-refer via the 
Wellbeing Service

Secondly, the courses teach mindfulness in a way which requires you to be willing to spend time in meditation "turning towards" or bringing a sense of acceptance to the unpleasant or difficult aspects of what your are experiencing in the present moment. With some mental health conditions, espcially if you have experienced trauma, this can be unhelpful or even worsen your symptoms if you don't have one-to-one support from a qualified professional to support and guide you. So please consider carefully if you really feel well enough to take part. It may be much more beneficial to wait until you are further along your path to mental health. I know, having had several episodes of depression and anxiety myself, that it can be difficult and frustrating to follow this advice but there really will come a time when you will feel better if you can seek all the relevant support possible at present.

Thirdly, the courses can be intensive and quite demanding so if you are suffering from lack of motivation or extreme fatigue then it may be very difficult to get much from them, especially as the most important part is the practise at home on your own between sessions. It is also important that you feel reasonably comfortable in a group setting and are able to ask questions and share your meditation experiences in a small group of 4 or 5 others. If any of this might be difficult for you then the recommendation is to wait until you are feeling better before starting a course.

I suffer with chronic low-mood or low-level anxiety. Which course would be better for me?
If you also have a chronic physical health condition or persistent pain then I would recommend you take the "Mindfulness for Health" course. Otherwise, generally speaking, the "Mindfulness for Stress" course would be more suitable. However, please feel free to get in touch if you would like more guidance.

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