Mindfulness is a simple way of ‘being’ that unfolds and deepens over time with practice. It is a gentle training that provides a set of life skills and techniques, which enhance our ability to care for ourselves through challenging times. Formal meditation is one of the key practices used in mindfulness training, but there are many informal and shorter exercises which can be used in your daily life.

‘Mindfulness is paying attention to something,
in a particular way,
on purpose,
in the present moment,
non-judgementally’
  Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness practitioners learn how to ‘pay attention on purpose’ by practicing specially developed meditation practices, designed to help slow down our brain chatter and automatic reactions. We learn to direct our attention to one thing at a time, allowing us to experience life in the ‘present moment’- what is happening right now for us.

We learn to gently let go of any thoughts that come up about the past or worries about the future. When these thoughts arise again, we simply acknowledge them as thoughts, and let them go ‘without judging them or ourselves’. By learning to focus and pay attention in this way we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, but less caught up in them, a thought can be experienced as just a thought. It’s not about emptying your mind of thoughts, it simply enables you to notice what’s going on in your life and helps you to break free from negative habits, encouraging better choices for yourself.

WHERE DOES MINDFULNESS COME FROM?

Methods for training in mindfulness have their roots in ancient meditation practices that are thousands of years old. Nowadays, with thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn, we have a new format in which to practice this ancient art. He founded the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction clinic in the late 1970’s and since then his 8 week MBSR courses have been widely introduced as a way to help people manage the pain and stress of their medical conditions.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

New scientific research has shown that having a regular mindfulness practice produces many benefits for aiding your physical, mental and emotional health. Numerous studies keep showing that the people who practice mindfulness and self-compassion are more emotionally stable and resilient. They are more able to cope with stressful situations and can handle difficult emotions with greater ease. They increase their capacity for happiness and well-being.

‘One of the most astonishing features of meditation is that you can actually see its profoundly positive effects actually changing the brain. Recent scientific advances allow us to see the parts of the brain associated with such positive emotions as happiness, empathy and compassion becoming stronger and more active on people who meditate’ Professor Mark Williams founder of The Oxford Mindfulness Centre

THE WELL DOCUMENTED BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS INCLUDE:

  • Reducing stress
  • Calming mind chatter
  • Lessening anxiety & depression
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Normalising blood pressure
  • Improving concentration & memory
  • Increasing positive emotions & thoughts
  • Reducing negative thinking patterns
  • Assisting pain management
  • Improving sleep patterns
  • Helping us to respond rather than ‘react’ to difficult situations