“I am in control of my thoughts, they don’t control me”
The OMC's aim is to reduce suffering, promote resilience and realise human potential across the lifespan. Our public Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses offer the benefits of mindfulness to anyone who wants to develop skills to respond better to the ups and downs of everyday living. Karen Wyn Griffith, who took an OMC MBCT course recently, describes the impact it has had on her.
“I feel less anxious and have become calmer and more relaxed, which is not only benefitting me, but also my family.”
Why were you attracted to the MBCT course?
I was eager to learn more about Mindfulness as a mum of two young children. I wanted to learn how to be more mindful around them and in everyday life. The MBCT course at The Oxford Mindfulness Centre sounded like it was a great starting point.
What do you think the most useful or helpful thing about the course has been for you?
The entire course was useful and helpful to me, but if I had to highlight one particular thing – it was learning that I am in control of my own thoughts and they don’t control me.
By being mindful and aware I can manage my thought process much more skilfully, whereas before – I always seemed to be in autopilot and just believed any negative thoughts I had regarding myself or situations, which usually resulted in feeding more negative thoughts. I now feel much more aware of how my mind works and when I am experiencing negativity or difficulty, I know how to handle it better.
When I return to my breath and take some time to focus on my breathing and create some space, I always find it helps.
What has stuck in your mind since finishing the course? An exercise, a learning point or a quote?
So many things have stuck in my mind since finishing the course, but mainly:
The power of my breath and how I can use it every day to help me be more aware/present and react more skilfully to situations I find myself in.
A quote that has stuck with me and I find myself referring to regularly is the following:
“You can’t control the sea, but you can learn to surf the waves”.
Who do you think would benefit from attending an MBCT course?
Everyone. In today’s society so many people seem stressed and put themselves under increasing pressure to achieve more, have more and do more. There seems to be a constant striving for more. Learning about mindfulness could help people find balance and discover that you can find calm and happiness in the present moment and you don’t need to be so focussed on what the future will bring. We all seem so focussed on the future and where we want to get to – we are missing the now.
How would you describe the teaching on your course? How did it make you feel?
The teaching on the course was excellent. We were guided through the 8 weeks brilliantly and it was obvious that the teachers practiced what they preached. They were so knowledgeable and helpful and great at advising on how to work with certain exercises, when people struggled or experienced difficulty. Every week I looked forward to the class. The teaching style made me feel calm and relaxed.
How did you find the personal practice at home?
If you want to find the course beneficial, then you really need to be committed to the home practice. It was difficult at times, especially in the beginning. Trying to find 45 mins per day to dedicate to the practice was tough – but as the course progressed, I got used to practicing at home and it seemed to become less of a difficulty and more of an enjoyment. It became something I looked forward to. More so when I started to see the benefits I was gaining from the practice. My family even noticed the positive effect the practice was having on me. I also liked the fact that home practice was varied as it allowed me to identify which practices worked best for me.
What has Mindfulness changed for you, if anything?
I’m meditating every day and continually finding joy in lots of little things that I would normally have taken for granted.
I feel less anxious and have become calmer and more relaxed, which is not only benefitting me, but also my family.
I feel like I have found something I’m passionate about. I’m excited and hungry to learn more and continue my practice.
The MBCT course really has been one of the best things I have taken part in. I am so grateful and thankful that I discovered it and decided to apply to do it. It has taught me so much and given me something I would love to take further.
MBCT courses run every term in Oxford. The next ones start in September and are offered as either an 8 week course, meeting for 2 hours each week plus one full day of practice, or as a fortnightly course with 5 sessions.