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MBCT for Life

The Funny Side of Mindfulness

What on earth was that noise? As we sat meditating in the second floor classroom, a loud intermittent scraping sound came piercing through the open windows and the summer heat. Screeech! There it was again, even louder. Screeech! And again! Each time the sound stopped I could feel the anticipation of my fellow course attendees as we sat trying to meditate on sounds, not judging them as good or bad, but instead letting them come and go. Then it happened.

BANG!!!

The huge crash from outside made me jump, and I heard someone close to me trying to stifle a laugh. Then there was a giggle, then another, and pretty soon we were all laughing as we sneaked a look around the room for a few seconds, acknowledging our shared failure to let this particular sound come and go without judgement! A smile even crossed the lips of our teacher, before we all settled down again to continue our meditation. Just a few weeks before we were strangers, and now we were friends learning – and laughing – together.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for Life is an 8-week course which dives deeply into how mindfulness techniques and cognitive therapy can really help reduce our daily stresses – for life. I had already attended Valleys Steps 6-week courses in Stress Control and Mindfulness, and they had helped me a lot. But as good as they are, the free and open-access 6 week courses are delivered “lecture style” and not intended to be interactive. 

MBCT for Life is different. It takes the skills and techniques from both of the Valleys Steps 6-week courses and builds on them in a safe and welcoming environment. You don’t need to have completed the 6-week courses before doing MBCT for Life, but the course is an excellent next step if you have. Each week we met in a small relaxed group for two hours, sharing our experiences and difficulties, listening to each other and offering non-judgemental support and advice. Our teacher Clare guided us expertly through group meditations and other activities, either sat together in a semi-circle or on yoga mats on the floor. 

I gained a lot of life skills and knowledge through completing the MBCT for Life course. But above all, the encouragement and shared experience of learning together as a group was incredibly valuable for me in actually putting theory into practice. Before the course I had found that I was slipping into bad habits again, but the weekly “homework”, discussions and feedback got me right back on track. 

I would thoroughly recommend the MBCT for Life course to anyone who wants to learn more skillful ways to deal with their day-to-day stress, and lead a happier and more fulfilled life! 

If you would like to attend one of our MBCT for Life courses, please click here!

By Ryan Emmett