Mindfulness practice is a form of meditation that helps us to become more aware of our present moment-by-moment experiences with curiosity and kindness. By practising Mindfulness regularly we can develop a greater capacity to look after ourselves with our own innate wisdom and compassion.

Mindfulness practice can help you to:

• Develop a renewed appreciation and enjoyment of everyday life
• Understand and reduce your stress reactions
• Enhance your ability to take care of yourself

The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine is currently providing three types of Mindfulness courses:

• Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
• Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (MBCT)
• Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for People with Cancer (MBCT-Ca)

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

This is an 8-week course that offers ways to reduce the impact of stress and anxiety. This could be stress from outside pressures, or internal pressures, or connected with chronic health problems. We will use meditations, gentle movement and self-reflections to explore how the mind has a tendency to run on ‘automatic pilot’ and what happens as we let go of this, and how we can respond to the unavoidable difficulties that come along in life.

Evidence suggests MBSR can offer support in many situations including work stress, anxiety conditions, insomnia, and in chronic physical illness where it has been found to increase the quality of life, reduce anxiety and improve mood. For some people, it can also reduce pain, symptom severity and lower blood pressure.

Next course start date: TBA

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an adaptation of MBSR that is orientated to those people who have a history of recurrent depression.

The MBCT course can help you:

• Recognise the early warning signs of depression and your unique pattern of depression
• Develop your capacity to be with difficult experiences compassionately and wisely
• Enhance your ability to take care of yourself
• Develop a renewed appreciation and enjoyment of everyday life

When undertaken between episodes of depression (when well), participation and engagement with the MBCT course has the been found to reduce the chances of a further episode by over 40% for the next 12 months, similar to the benefit of maintenance antidepressants. It has been approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence who have recommended it as a method of relapse prevention. It can be undertaken as an adjunct to taking maintenance anti-depressants or an alternative to them. If you are considering stopping your antidepressants, we ask that you discuss this with your doctor first, as we recommend this decision is made jointly by you and your prescribing doctor.

Next course start date: TBA

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for People with Cancer

The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine, the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre at Southmead Hospital, and Penny Brohn UK are delivering a new Mindfulness course designed for people (patients and their carers) with cancer. The MBCT-Ca course is based on the MBCT course but has been specifically designed to address the unique needs of people with cancer.

The aims of the MBCT-Ca course are:

• To increase your ability to be aware in the present moment rather than being caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past
• To help recognise and notice your own unique pattern of stress or anxiety
• To learn ways of ‘being with’ your difficult or challenging internal experiences (e.g. physical sensations, unhelpful thought patterns or strong emotions like anger, fear, sadness or grief) rather than avoiding or denying these experiences which can often increase suffering
• To develop your coping skills so that you are more able to respond wisely to difficult internal and external experiences.

The course takes place over eight weeks and includes weekly sessions which last 2.5 hours, plus a full meditation retreat day and a follow-up session a month later. You will also be encouraged to do up to 1 hour of guided home practice every day for the duration of the course.

Venues for this new and exciting service will include Penny Brohn at Pill and other city centre locations in the future.

Next course start date: The final pilot course is due to start on 11th October 2017, to be held at the Macmillan Centre in Southmead Hospital. It will be facilitated by Julia Wallond and Olivia Donnelly.

To register your interest on this course please email enquiries@portlandcentrehealthcare.co.uk or call the admin team on 0117 317 1482. Please note, you will also be asked to speak with the Macmillan Team who are co-presenting this pilot.

The dates are:

11th October 2017 for 8 weeks, every Wednesday afternoon from 1:45pm to 5:00pm, ending 29th November 2017.

Cost: There is no cost for this course, which is being offered jointly by Penny Brohn UK and by the Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine.

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