The Calmer Waters of Meditation – By Guest Blogger Andrew Beck (part 2)

Hi, and welcome to part 2 of this guest blog post by my musician and author friend, Andy Beck.

In this post, Andy will tell us about how he found Minfulness based cognitive therapy, and how it’s worked for him.

It’s not a one off

First things first…MBCT is not a one-off. It’s not a one-time form of therapy that “fixes” you, so you can just carry on like before.

No—with Mindfulness meditation, we walk away with a practice for life.

Something we can engage in for 5-10 minutes (or longer) every day.

Far from being burdensome, this keeps you on the straight and narrow, mentally speaking, from day to day. 

So what is it? 

Basically, Mindfulness meditation involves simple breathing exercises. These bring your mind under control, gently.

This reduces the stress, the panic, the moodiness etc. of your daily life.

The more you practice it, the better you’ll get at keeping your mind cool, calm and collected

Is it hard? 


Mindfulness is very easy, and almost anyone can practice it.

Think it’s some guy up a mountain somewhere, sitting cross-legged with his arms outstretched humming to himself?

Think again.

All you need, in order to get started, is a comfortable chair to sit on, 10 minutes to yourself, and e.g. this video

Is it expensive? 


All I’ve ever spent on MBCT was £10.49 on the aforementioned Audible book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman .

The best investment of £10 I’ve ever made!

The only other thing you need to invest is time, so that you’ll understand both the theory and the practice. 

Is it genuine?


Mindfulness techniques have been around for several decades in the West, and have been developed by leading researchers and professors working at some of the best universities in the world. 

So in other words, it ain’t fake. 

Is it scary?

Not in my experience.

Mark Williams might not be the only MBCT guru out there, but he has one hell of a relaxing voice (here’s another example video).

The form of therapy he teaches doesn’t freak me out or make me feel unpleasant in the slightest, and it never has. 

Is there an app for it?

Of course!

I’ve used Insight Timer a fair bit, though Headspace also gets a very good write-up.

Other apps are available too. 

Synctuition, while not strictly related to Mindfulness, is an interesting one to try before bedtime, though the free option is limited. 

Is it effective? 


Not only has it turned my life around, but check out the following example case study.

At Exeter University in 2008, a group of individuals who had each suffered from a major episode of depression were split into two groups.

One group was given anti-depressants, the other got MBCT.

After a year’s worth of monitoring, both groups had recovered to the same extent.

Meaning that Mindfulness is just as effective as taking medication, perhaps even more so. 

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath at the University of California explains more about the study here (Applying Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to Treatment).

I can recommend the whole video. 

I hope you enjoyed this installment of our Guest post this week.

We will be collaborating with Andy for a few more guest posts, so if you haven’t, subscribe to my blog to follow them (see the form below), and also do go follow Andy’s blog page through this link for more on folk music, self-care and updates on his upcoming products and services.

In next week’s post, Andy will tell us a bit more about how mindfulness works, from his personal experience with it.

A disclaimer as a therapist: there are lots of great and useful tools out there to help you in your daily life, including mindfulness apps, and related books like Andy’s, mine, and others.

These resources will help you tackle those things that have had you stuck for a long time, but I have to add one thing that I’ve learned through my training and experience as a counsellor:

I am a firm believer in the power of the therapeutic relationship in the healing process, so finding a nice balance between the resources mentioned in this post, and finding a therapist to talk through some of these things will be of great benefit.

Until next week….

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