Mindfulness - Leisa Aitken Master-class – Hope 103.2

Mindfulness – Leisa Aitken Master-class

In Buddhism, suffering stems from attachment and if one can detach themselves, it can place them on a path to diminishing suffering both mentally, spiritually and physically. But does this have any relevance to a Christian? Leisa Aitken believes that mindfulness or being present in the moment can work wonders for your stress levels, your […]

By Open HouseTuesday 24 Feb 2015Open House InterviewsChristian LivingReading Time: 2 minutes

In Buddhism, suffering stems from attachment and if one can detach themselves, it can place them on a path to diminishing suffering both mentally, spiritually and physically. But does this have any relevance to a Christian? Leisa Aitken believes that mindfulness or being present in the moment can work wonders for your stress levels, your immune system, your walk with God and general wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness is a skill, and with enough practice can become second nature. In daily life, it can be as simple as noticing the shapes of the clouds or counting your breaths, learning to observe the thoughts that come into your mind and letting them go. This trains you to be present in the moment, recognise your thoughts but realise what is at hand. This can be done anywhere, at the beach, on the commute to work or even in the bathroom.

Leisa suggests the simple exercise of colour counting, intentionally noticing five different coloured cars or adverts, which can begin the process of being mindful. Leisa Aitken urges that mindfulness does more than just reorganise your thoughts, it can improve your immune system, decreases cortisol levels (a chronic stress hormone) and can change the volume of your amygdala (emotional centre of the brain) making you less reactive whilst activating your left pre-frontal cortex and puts you in a positive mood.

Although, this principle isn’t specific to Buddhism, the Bible shows evidence of mindfulness, especially in the Psalms. David’s expressions of his thoughts and observing his difficult feelings in God’s presence show his mindfulness. Later in Ecclesiastes, it talks about accepting the ups and downs of life and that there is a season for everything. Even in non-western Christian writings, there are many comments on the practice of preparing yourself for prayer by being mindful of the presence of God and resting in it.

Leisa left with some helpful techniques and resources. You can purchase an app for your phone or a CD walking you through the process of being mindful, you can read more of Leisa’s perspective from her CPX interview, websites like the Black Dog Institute, the Happiness Trap, Eagle Psychology and Beyond Blue have guides you can download on mindfulness for you and your family. Also, the founder of the mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn has many books on the subject, the most renowned being Full Catastrophe Living.  Leisa has also done Masterclasses with Open House on Anxiety, Boundaries and Depression.