Mindfulness is a quality all of us can find in our everyday experience of life.

It can help us cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations.  It enables us to help ourselves with kindness, feel more relaxed and appreciate life more fully.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment without making judgements.

By becoming more aware of what you are thinking and doing, you can notice what is going on in your mind and body.

As we begin to notice our experience with more depth and kindness, we develop the ability to pause and consider what is most helpful for our situation.

How Mindfulness can help –

  • Being more aware of the present moment increases self-understanding

  • Noticing signs of stress or anxiety early allows us to manage them more effectively

  • Being mindful help us make wiser choices

  • Mindfulness encourages calmness and a broader view

Mindfulness-based approaches are now widely used in programmes to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, and to help with conditions such as chronic pain and illness.

A little background

The Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme was developed more than 30 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts.

Together they explored the potential of meditation and yoga techniques to relieve chronic stress, anxiety, and pain.

MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) is an adaptation now recognized by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating depression relapse.

In 2010 the Mental Health Foundation – who run the useful BeMindful website – found that over two-thirds of GPs support the proposal that mindfulness training
should be more accessible. They reported that

“Mindfulness approaches have been proven to be effective in a wide range of mental and physical health applications. Mindfulness generally supports health promotion and prevention of ill health.”