On 29th April, our support group was visited by Penny McCarthy, an experienced mindfulness practitioner based in Shropshire.
Penny helped us explore mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness is recommended by the NHS and many of the activities were originally designed for physical and mental health conditions.
The group spoke about how tinnitus affects them, before getting stuck-in, as Penny shared that ‘mindfulness is best understood through doing, not exploring’. With her guidance, we were able to experience a taster of fascinating formal and informal practices. It was great to see how mindfulness can be experienced in everyday ways, such as by engaging the senses when drinking a cup of tea or glass of juice.
After each activity we took time to reflect, and penny kindly shared two insightful poems with the group, one of which was The Guest House by Jalaluddin Rumi, a Scottish poet.
Although difficult feelings can sometimes arise as part of the activities, the aim is to support individuals in building a toolkit in the short-term, and to discover their own answers over time.
One participant said ‘I have read books on mindfulness but did not fully appreciate the philosophy that lay behind it. The speaker’s practical session enabled me to understand this and what meditation is trying to achieve and how this relates to tinnitus.’
We spoke to Penny after the session, and she commented ‘What a great group of people! Working with Mindfulness entails being more aware of the whole of our experience, even the unpleasant parts, on our way towards finding more skilful ways of dealing with them. A big ask, but the groups engaged with the activities with curiosity, honesty and courage. Well done all!’. To find out more about Penny’s work, you can visit: https://www.facebook.com/bridgnorthmindfulness/
Our next event will take place on 6th May, where we will welcome Georgina Burns-O’Connell, Research officer for the BTA.
If you are currently experiencing tinnitus, or know someone who could benefit from our support, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com.