Gougane Barra is a beautiful place. Photo: Yen Tran

Learn to ease stress and anxiety with mindfulness

The new year often brings about the desire to make changes.

Many of us have an automatic default to stress and be anxious, with our systems ending up operating on overdrive for long periods. Logically we know that there may be no point in worrying, but we get pulled into the pattern.

It can be stressful to be stressed and often feels as if there is nothing that will help. Stress can make any issue worse and is linked to many health issues. Research shows repeatedly that mindfulness can help to ease low mood; ease depression; lower anxiety; improve memory and concentration; boost the immune system; ease chronic pain.

Practicing mindfulness does not mean that our problems will go away, but it does help us gain awareness not only of how we are in the moment, but how to cope better. It teaches us to be present to any situation and respond in a discerning manner, rather than get pulled into our unhelpful ways of dealing with issues, reacting with anger, panic or in ways that impact our own lives in a negative way.

Marie O’Mahony was awarded a BSc (Hons) with Middlesex University in 2013 and is a fully accredited member of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP). She began practicing mindfulness more than 10 years ago, after attending a 1-day workshop on mindfulness for therapists.

This day changed how she saw the world and how she was in it. It opened a new pathway in her life. She went on to earn a Diploma in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Approaches and is now a fully accredited member of the Mindfulness Teacher’s Association of Ireland (MTAI).

She has qualified to teach a number of approaches, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), MBCT for Cancer.

Marie teaches mindfulness to a few charity organisations, including Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

The next 8 week MBCT/MBSR course will be starting Wednesday 1 February in Northridge House, Mahon from 7-9.30pm. During each of the 8 weeks there are experiential exercises, guided mindful movement and/or meditations, psychoeducation.

In a non-judgemental space, we explore how it is to bring mindfulness into our day to day living. The learning through the 8 weeks helps us take better care of both our mental and physical health and improve our relationships with others and our environment.

The course aids in identifying thought patterns which contribute to low mood, anxiety and stress, recognising stress reactions to better manage them, and regulating emotion and attention. Resources provided include access to guided practices and handouts which assist in the weekly home practice of 30 to 45 minutes.

For enquiries about the course or for application form, contact Marie O’Mahony by email at marieomahonypsychotherapist@gmail.com or call 086-1982262.