Have you ever been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to find that you remembered nothing about your journey?
Or has a couple of bites from a bar of chocolate and then realise there is just an empty packet left in your hand?
Most of us have experienced something similar, according to Lisa Henson from Derwent Rural Counselling Service.
“This is what we call being on auto pilot - not being fully present or aware of what is going on around us, and is common for many of us in the increasing busy pace of life.
“Auto pilot is the opposite of mindfulness.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally says Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of modern day Mindfulness.
“Those who practise mindfulness learn how to pay attention on purpose by practising specially developed mindfulness meditation practices and mindful movements.
“With practice, you can learn to slow down or stop brain chatter and automatic or habitual reactions, experiencing the present moment as it really is.”
DRCS, in partnership with Talking Mental Health Derbyshire is currently running free mindfulness based Cognitive therapy (MBCT) courses across the county.
They combine meditation and Cognitive Behaviour therapy to help manage problems with stress and depression.
It lasts two hours a week for eight weeks with an expectation of regular home practice to consolidate skills learnt in each session.
“You can develop a strong, but flexible, mind; learn a greater understanding of the workings of your mind and be better equipped to recognise patterns and mental habits” added Lisa.
“As well as developing skills so you can stand back a little from distressing thoughts and feelings and be more in control.
“Recognising early warning signs of low mood/anxiety and taking helpful action when you spot them, allows you to manage anxiety and depression better.
“If you put less effort in to trying to fix things, and strive for results, you learn to live better with life’s changes. You also develop a kinder and gentler attitude towards yourself, finding greater meaning in your life.”
Previous attendees say it is an excellent course giving them the life skills to move forward, work with their anxiety and the group environment allows people to learn a lot about themselves in the process. They feel calmer and better able to deal with the ups and downs of life.
To find out more call 01246 232891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.