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Mindfulness for Wellbeing

Mindfulness as a timeless spiritual tradition and today

Mindfulness has been realised and taught within many spiritual traditions for centuries.  The benefits have more recently become recognised in the West. Jon Kabat Zinn devised the original 8 week mindfulness course for stress reduction in the US and now versions of this are taught all around the world.

You can watch a 3 minute video clip of Kabat Zinn talking about mindfulness here

In the UK mindfulness is recognised by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) in the NHS as a helpful response for people experiencing depression. 

Mindfulness as a foundation for life

When we approach life mindfully, being more fully in the present with whatever we are experiencing, we can begin to feel more alive and can deal with our problems and difficulties more resourcefully. Instead of staying tangled up in patterns of stress and unhappiness that we can't seem to find a way out of, we can get in touch with a sense of inner calm and steadiness and from this perspective we can see things more clearly and act more effectively. Over time our old habits of reaction can lessen, we may find we are listening more sensitively to our own needs and those of others, and being able to respond in different, more helpful and compassionate ways to life's challenges.

Ways in to practising Mindfulness

Regular practice of mindfulness has been shown to promote mental and physical wellbeing in many ways, from improved mental and physical health, to better communication, social connections and self esteem...

People who are experiencing life difficulties of one kind or another may find that a mindfulness-based therapy approach can be helpful. The difficult issues that led them to seek therapeutic support in the first place can themselves be the starting point for a new and creative way of being.

Some people may want to do a mindfulness course to deepen and enhance their awareness and appreciation of life.  The 8 week courses teach how to cultivate life skills for respond to all kinds of situations from an inner foundation of awareness, presence and confidence.

Having established a regular mindfulness practice, or even as a complete beginner, going on guided or self-led meditation retreats can further deepen confidence in and commitment to one's practice. There are many meditation centres that offer retreats and each person can research these to find out which tradition of teaching might best suit their needs and temperament.

Mindfulness as a formal and informal practice

Establishing a regular formal meditation practice, ideally a daily routine, to make space for this in our lives, is a wonderful investment of our time that tends to reward us 'with interest'. The other and equally essential aspect of mindfulness practice is informal practice - the intention to practice bringing mindful attention to all the moments of our lives, just as we are experiencing them, without judgment.

Surrendering to the flow of life in all its vitality and unpredictability, we can let go of the struggle to control the uncontrollable and embrace the conditions of the present moment, even the difficult ones, with confidence, compassion and joy.

The benefits of Mindfulness are supported by research 

There is a growing body of research which supports this approach. The NHS recognises mindfulness as an effective response to depression. The Mental Health Foundation has published a report on Mindfulness endorsing the positive effects of a mindfulness-based approach and this can be accessed on the website www.bemindful.co.uk where you can also see video clips about a mindfulness approach.