Why should I practise mindfulness?
Frances Trussell is a mindfulness teacher, author, speaker and therapist. She spoke to BALANCE on the benefits of the practice and her work with MBRTT, otherwise known as Mindfulness Based Rapid Transformational Therapy.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW YOU CAME TO BE A MINDFULNESS TEACHER?
I used to have a high-pressured job in media, I’d been stressed and depressed for so long that it had become normalised. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time hiding in bathrooms having panic attacks. Mindfulness changed everything for me, it was like someone had suddenly switched a light on in my head. Everything that was grey became full colour and I fell back in love with life. I knew that I had to train to teach because I wanted to share what I’d found with as many people as possible. I’ve gone on to work with many hundreds of clients and it never ceases to amaze me how powerfully a shift in awareness can impact people’s enjoyment of living.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is having your mind full of what you are doing when you are doing it rather than filled with thought. Those trains of thought take us on journeys away from the here and now and can have us living in a daydream rather than being present in our life. All of the ‘golden moments’ or special times in our life are when are naturally being mindful, engaged in where we are, it is a natural state of being which is available to all of us if we are prepared to unlearn the way we’ve been conditioned to be.
IF YOU’VE NEVER PRACTICES MINDFULNESS BEFORE, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO START?
The here and now is always the best place to start. So right now, just noticing whatever you are holding onto, any judgements or preconceptions, thoughts or projections. Noticing that and putting it down. Feeling into the breath and as you let go of the breath putting everything down, your shoulders, your tension, your past, the whole lot. With each new breath, we have a chance to begin again, to start over and just be who we are right now. It’s really useful to have a teacher when we are first starting out; it is great to have that human connection so we can ask questions and discuss what is coming up for us.
HOW CAN WE PRACTICE MINDFULNESS EVERY DAY?
By being aware of your senses. We can get so lost in our heads that it’s almost as though we are detached from our body. When we are operating on autopilot we think our way through life and are rarely present for our sensory experience but it is always there waiting to be felt. Try feeling the water in your shower, smelling the soap. Try really tasting your food, feeling the texture. Listen out for the sound of the birds, even right in the centre of the city they are singing and if you can hear them then you’ll find yourself in the moment.
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT CAN MINDFULNESS HAVE ON OUR LIVES?
Mindfulness completely transformed my experience of life, rather than living in a state of regret for the past and worry for the future. I was able to let go of overthinking and be where I was. Thankfully things are rarely as bad as our minds might make them. The science is compelling; in addition to reducing stress, anxiety and depression, mindfulness reduces the intensity of pain, enhances our brain function, improving memory, focus and self-control. Mindfulness meditation improves the immune system and can help control blood pressure and sugars. A recent study even showed how it may reduce ageing at the cellular level which might be why meditators are shown to live for longer.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MBRTT AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS KIND OF THERAPY?
MBRTT is Mindfulness based rapid transformational therapy. It is a new hybrid therapy technique combining the principles of mindfulness with hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. The benefits of this therapy are that clients experience rapid change. Unlike traditional therapy, which can take several years, clients gain huge insights and shifts in awareness right from the first session. Under regression, we get to uncover the root cause of an issue and then reframe this within the subconscious. Most clients only need one round of treatment, paired with ongoing mindfulness practice, for lasting change.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM MBRTT AND WHAT IT BE USED TO TREAT?
MBRTT is suitable for anyone who would like to be more mindful and present in their life but find they have something blocking them from doing so, either conscious or unconscious. Anxiety and depression along with self-sabotaging behaviours are often the symptoms of an underlying block or limiting belief that can be identified and released in an MBRTT session. It can be used to enhance happiness, clarity and a sense of purpose, bringing greater joy and ease to life.
Frances Trussell’s book ‘You Are Not Your Thoughts; The Secret Magic of Mindfulness’ is out now.