Mindfulness & Wellbeing

Mindfulness and WellbeingStory by Kendrea Rhodes

How often do you drift off in thought while doing things you’ve done every day, not really mindful, nor present in that moment? Perhaps it happens to you when you are driving, showering, cooking, ironing, gardening or watching something. It happens to everyone and it’s actually not that easy to live in the moment and observe everything that is happening right now, especially when we all seem to have so much to do these days.

So what is Mindfulness, if not “full of mind”? Well, it actually is that, in a round-about way. It is about present moment awareness, observing things closely, or actively and deliberately noticing what is going on in your mind without judging things as good or bad.

The British Government, through one of their “Foresight” programs, is beginning to define and measure the public’s wellbeing in a way that they expect will have national consequences. Mindfulness is considered one of the five key points contributing to the wellbeing of the nation. They have recognized, through the research, that “there is a clear case for action across society including by Government, companies and individuals to boost both mental capital and wellbeing. This could reap very high economic and social benefits in the future.”*

Georgie Davidson, a Physiotherapist based in Lobethal, runs courses in Mindfulness and has had some outstanding results on the ‘wellbeing scale’. Not just with depression, anxiety and relaxation, but in pain management, sustainable stress reduction and improved sleep.

For the past 26 years, Georgie has been a physiotherapist, having trained in Adelaide and worked in the USA and interstate. She returned to her beloved South Australia 14 years ago and lives in Birdwood with her husband and two children. She has built up a respectable physiotherapy practice and is a trained yoga instructor. Her qualifications don’t end there though, as it’s through yoga that Georgie was introduced to the idea of mindfulness and was inspired to learn more. She is now fully qualified as an internationally recognised MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) facilitator and is currently running the 8 week courses in Lobethal and Adelaide.

Georgie explained that due to our busy lives, we react automatically to situations, inadvertently creating chronic stress. This can affect every system in the body with muscle tension, breathing changes, altered digestive function and hormonal and immune system imbalance. Thirty years of supportive research has shown that an MBSR course can provide the tools (such as meditation, mindful movement and health education) to allow participants to change the way in which they respond to experiences. This calms the nervous system, thus creating positive changes in all the systems of the body. She said that the brain continually changes throughout life and research results suggest that ‘mindfulness’ actually changes the structure and function of the brain.

Cheryl Davis, Kate Burke and Caroline Saltmarsh have all completed previous MBSR courses with Georgie. All three ladies said that the course changed their lives both physically and psychologically.

Cheryl has Osteo-Arthritis and said that pain management has been a major part of her life. It’s a vicious cycle, where exercise is both the panacea to the condition and the contributor. Cheryl said it used to be too painful to exercise, but now, through what she has learnt on the MBSR course with Georgie, she is not only exercising, but has been able to drop her medication dosage, ten fold!

Kate loved the meditation and relaxation parts of the course. She said that everything slows down and what you are looking at becomes clearer, “it’s a most wonderful way to find out about yourself”. Through breaking cycles, slowing down and looking at the right here/right now, Kate has achieved a profound calmness within her life.

Caroline, a fibromyalgia sufferer, said that pain is a hard thing to share, you just withdraw. But through yoga, the MBSR course and Georgie’s wonderfully aware and relaxed presence, Caroline has been able to get a handle on life, reduce her medication to zero, and become more active and enthusiastic. Her Rheumatologist is watching her progress every step of the way and he thinks that the results she has attained through the course are fantastic.

As I am writing this, I am not sure I am even in the moment, with my mind on the deadline (in the future) and my thoughts on the interviews (in the past). But I must say, I love my comfortable swivel chair and ergonomic keyboard, which I note is dark grey and not black. Perhaps this is mindful osmosis, through simply writing about the subject! Georgie calls it “the Sir David Attenborough approach; closely observing the things around us with patience and curiosity”.

The next 8 week MBSR course begins at the end of October and Georgie’s Mindful Movement Yoga classes are run from the Lobethal Reception Centre in Church St., Lobethal. These courses, run by Georgie, are supported by WorkCover. You can find out more on the website www.mindfulmovement.net.au or by dropping in to the physiotherapy clinic at 91 Main St., Lobethal, or by phoning on 8121 7856 or 8389 6919.

* Source – www.bis.gov.uk/foresight/projects/published-projects/mental-capital-and-wellbeing