I believe you

I believe you

Over the past two years, I have had to face a series of MS-related cognitive issues. The best way I can explain it is this: Imagine you have a big plate of spaghettis in a tomatoes sauce in front of you. They look delicious and you’re starving but you are surrounded by a thick fog and you have to use a teaspoon to eat! This is how my brain regularly – but luckily not always- feels. Muddled. Untidy. Slippery. Concepts are hard to grasp. Ideas slither away before I can get hold of them. I try here and there but I feel overwhelmed. Then the pressure builds up and its gets even worse. Working in a busy environment is really tough. People chatting, colleagues asking questions, interrupting to call a meeting are all adding up to the stress of deadlines, reminders, the need to prove yourself. It is exhausting. But the worse is that when I tried to explain it, people refuse to acknowledge it. “Your brain works fine”. “Everybody feels like this”. “You can’t be sure it’s MS”. “You just need to relax”. Even my GP said it was just stress.   And then I met a GP who has MS and told him how I felt. He calmly looked at me and said “I believe you!” I felt the tears well up to my eyes. It was the first time in over two years that someone told me these simple but powerful words. I believe you. It felts as if he was hugging me in a loving embrace.   And I listened to him explain how he...
What is Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness? A working definition. Mindfulness could simply be described as paying attention. That’s all it is really. It’s paying attention to what’s actually happening. It’s not paying attention to what we think is happening, or thinking about what is happening – it’s just paying attention to what IS happening. Recent studies have shown that most of us are not actually focusing on what we are doing about half the time. Half the time our mind is wandering and we are following it. But these same studies have also shown that we are much happier when we pay attention to what we are doing, no matter what we are doing, and much less happy when our minds are wandering. So Mindfulness is a training in paying attention. In the same way we go to the gym to train our muscles, with Mindfulness we train our mental muscles to be present and strengthen our capacity to be with whatever arises in our experience. When practising Mindfulness we choose not to judge our experience or pay too much attention to whether we like what we are experiencing or not. We are not as fixated as we normally are with what we want to happen, or we don’t want to happen, but instead are just choosing to allow things to be just the way they are. And this starts with accepting ourselves just the way we are and being kind to ourselves. Instead of constantly judging ourselves and constantly trying to work out if we are meeting the expectations of ourselves and others – in Mindfulness we start by accepting whoever...
Mindful TV

Mindful TV

  What is mindfulness – Introduction Jon Kabat-Zinn video Duration of clip: 5 minutes Introduction to Mindfulness Mark Williams video Duration of clip: 3 minutes Jon Kabat-Zinn talks generally about Mindfulness Duration of clip: 7 minutes Professor Mark Williams gives lecture on Mindfulness Duration of clip: 1 hour and 6 minutes Ruby Wax’s journey from depression to Mindfulness Duration of clip: 27...
Mindfulness and MS

Mindfulness and MS

We are aware of 3 separate studies that looked into the effect of Mindfulness on MS and we have provided links to the research. While all these studies are small (between 50 and 165 particpants), it’s is clear that, (as one would expect looking at the general research findings on Mindfulness), participants in these studies experienced an improvement (and usually a lasting improvement) in a range of symptoms common to MS – fatigue, balance, depression, and General Quality of life. If you know of any work going on in this field then we would love to hear about it! Links to research: Mindfulness based interventions in multiple sclerosis – a systematic review Mindfulness of movement as a coping strategy in multiple sclerosis MS quality of life, depression, and fatigue improve after mindfulness training...
The Benefits of Mindfulness

The Benefits of Mindfulness

The Benefits of Mindfulness Scientific research into the effectiveness of Mindfulness in a wide range of medical, therapeutic and other settings have shown that practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can bring a variety of physical, psychological, and social benefits In the last few years the number and range of scientific research papers on Mindfulness has grown exponentially. As its benefits are proven so research funding has become available and now neuroscientists are working with scientists, medical doctors, geneticists and meditators to improve our understanding of how mindfulness works. Benefits Summary Here is a short summary of some of those benefits • Mindfulness is good for our bodies: A seminal study found that, after just eight weeks of training, practicing mindfulness meditation boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off illness. • Mindfulness is good for our minds: Several studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress. Indeed, at least one study suggests it may be as good as antidepressants in fighting depression and preventing relapse. • Mindfulness changes our brains: Research has found that it increases density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy. • Mindfulness helps us focus: Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us tune out distractions and improves our memory and attention skills. • Mindfulness fosters compassion and altruism: Research suggests mindfulness training makes us more likely to help someone in need and increases activity in neural networks involved in understanding the suffering of others and regulating emotions. Evidence suggests it might boost self-compassion as well. • Mindfulness enhances relationships: Research...
What Meditation or Mindfulness is NOT!

What Meditation or Mindfulness is NOT!

Though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a form of mindfulness practice has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond. Many people however are naturally are still a little wary when they hear the word meditation or Mindfulness, so it might be helpful to dispel some myths: Meditation is not a religion. Mindfulness is simply a method of mental training. Many people who practise meditation are themselves religious, but then again, many atheists and agnostics are keen meditators too. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor (like the pictures you may have seen in magazines or on TV), but you can if you want to. Most people sit on chairs to meditate, but you can also practise bringing mindful awareness to whatever you are doing, on buses, trains or while walking to work. You can meditate more or less anywhere. Mindfulness practice does not take a lot of time, although some patience and persistence are required. Many people soon find that meditation liberates them from the pressures of time, so they have more of it to spend on other things. Meditation is not complicated. Nor is it about ‘success’ or ‘failure’. Even when meditation feels difficult, you’ll have learned something valuable about the...