The mindfulness approaches are to be found implicitly in the phenomenological aspect of sophrology. After initially having an eight weeks programme with Ciska Matthes on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR Programme), Laurence has continued to practice meditation and mindfulness over several years with her.
It is a matter of paying attention to things as they are and not as we would like them to be.
Mindfulness has numerous similarities with sophrology:
- Mindfulness is intentional unlike pondering which is often automatic;
- It is an experience directly centered on the present moment and as Thich Nhat Hanh, a zen monk, wrote in The Miracle of Mindfulness: “the miracle is to live deeply the present moment”;
- Mindfulness is without judgment: only welcome what is there by suspending any judgment, putting on hold the filter of one’s thinking.
The main interest of this method has been scientifically approved in a number of fields, in particular to fight stress, anxiety, several psychosomatic affections, as well as chronic pain. This protocol, taken up again in 1995 by the psychiatrist Zindel Segal and his co-workers within the context of prevention of depressive relapses, was called the MBCT Programme (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy).
For about ten years, these practices have been introduced in France and supported by the doctor Christophe André, a psychiatrist in the Sainte-Anne hospital, his Buddhist friend Matthieu Ricard, a doctor in cellular genetics and a Tibetan Buddhist monk and the sophrologist Geneviève Hamelet. In the Netherlands, Eline Snel developed mindfulness for children and teenagers with her now famous book : Sitting Still like a Frog.
Thus, mindfulness is directed at people wishing to:
- fight stress and anxiety,
- overcome depression and/or avoid relapse,
- reduce pain,
- combat illness,
- strengthen the immune system,
- enhance better concentration and attention,
- improve sleep,
- live the present moment more intensely
- work on attention thanks to conscious breathing,
- the way to welcome thoughts and emotions without judging them.
Various techniques are available, namely:
- attention to breathing,
- body scan,
- awareness of sounds and thoughts,
- breathing space,
- mindful walking.
The techniques taught during sessions are simple and can be rehearsed at home. As in sophrology, practice will allow integration of the method.
They can be individual or collective. Laurence automatically includes mindfulness in sophrology sessions which usually take place once a week. It is highly recommended to practice the exercises at home to get better results.
These sessions have to be attended for a certain period of time and will be part of a new healthy life, a new philosophy of life.
Please note that these sessions are not part of the official MBSR and MBCT programmes which are only carried out in groups over a period of eight weeks.