Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Mindfulness Awareness

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The Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project provided by the Beth Johnson Foundation applied for a Macmillan Team Learning and Development Grant which was successful and enabled us to participate in an Introduction to Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which is very relevant for life today. Mindfulness is a very simple concept.  Mindfulness  means paying attention in a particular way:  on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.  This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality.

Mindfulness does not conflict with any beliefs or tradition, religious, cultural or scientific.  It is simply a practical way to notice thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, smells – anything we might not normally notice.  The actual skills might be simple, but because it is so different to how our minds normally behave, it takes a lot of practice.

The following are reflections on the 2 days by some of the Volunteer Co-ordinators……..

“On 14th and 15th July I joined the rest of the Beth Johnson Foundation staff at Acton Trussell to find out about Mindfulness. The session was led by Miro Cansky who gave us  an interesting introduction to the technique.

Mindfulness has been used for many years by different groups in a variety of settings and it has gained in popularity more recently.

The art of ‘living in the moment’ is a great skill to have when living or working in stressful situations with people who are experiencing major difficulties in their lives. Although this was just a taster session, I hope that it will be a useful tool both personally and when supporting people affected by cancer.
It was also nice to spend time with work colleagues away from the office and I found this to be a great team building experience; lying on the floor and deep breathing is a great way to get to know your fellow workers!

Thank you to Macmillan for the funding and to Miro for giving us an insight into the practice and advantages of this interesting technique.” Hilary Stefanelli, East Staffordshire Area Co-ordinator

Relaxation

Mindfulness – Collette’s view

I wasn’t sure what to expect; the concept of Mindfulness seemed to be a ‘hippy’ style activity.  However, with an open-mind and overnight bag, I joined my colleagues from Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Cancer Advocacy and Support Project and staff from the Beth Johnson Foundation at The Moat House, Acton Trussell for a 2-day Introduction to Mindfulness Workshop.

I hoped that my outcome of the workshop would be to discover a way to de-stress and relax as the vast majority of my time is spent with clients in emotional distress.

Theory

 

My outcome was achieved and exceeded!  To sit quietly focusing on the ‘here and now’, using my senses of touch, sight and sound and, allowing myself the time, without the guilt, out of a busy schedule.

Looking forward, I intend to put into practice what has been learnt as the workshop was only an introduction to the process of being Mindful and that further learning is to be had through practice.

Collette Cooper, North Staffordshire Area Volunteer Co-ordinator

 

Living in the moment – it sounds like a simple enough task but it was not until my involvement with the ‘Mindfulness’ taster sessions that we were able to take part in last week that I realised just how hard it is for me to really clear my mind and focus on simply  ‘being’. It really is a whole new mindset.

So, following on from our training last week, I have tried to make it a point of sitting and practicing the simple ‘FOFBOC’ (feet on floor, bottom on chair) meditation technique that we learned, just for a few minutes, at least once a day. The idea is, that by sitting comfortably and purposely paying attention to things as they are at that present time, it will become second nature for me to regularly re-centre my thoughts and help me to become more aware of my feelings and body sensations.

It is thought that practising mindfulness can give more insight into emotions, boost attention and concentration. Sounds good to me! So I thought I should at least give it a go. Watch this space… Amanda Carter, Central Staffordshire Area Volunteer Co-ordinator

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Author: Marie McWilliams

OPAAL's National Development Officer

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