Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body approach to life that helps people relate effectively to their experiences. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings and body sensations in a way that can increase our awareness, help us manage difficult experiences, and create space for wise choices.
Though rooted in ancient traditions of meditation, mindfulness has become the subject of increasing scientific attention in recent years, as a rapidly-expanding body of research is suggesting it can help people manage a range of physical and mental health problems, as well as promoting well-being generally. Research has consistently shown that programmes based on mindfulness (such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness-bsed cognitive therapy) can help people reduce their levels of stress, and mindfulness skills are now being used in medicine and mental health as well as in workplaces, schools and other community settings. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is now recommended in the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines for treating recurrent depression.
Mindfulness programmes which teach simple meditation practices have also been shown to significantly reduce relapse rates among people prone to depression, as well as helping people manage a range of other health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, HIV, cancer, and sleep problems. It has been shown to improve immune system response and speed healing.
Mindfulness seems to be helpful for managing anger issues, addictive behaviours, and eating disorders, as well as improving creativity. Neuroscientific studies have shown that practising mindfulness appears to increase activation in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain more associated with positive emotions and which is generally less active in people who are depressed.
However, it's not only people with a particular health problem who can benefit - mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve functioning in a whole range of life situations (eg in education, the workplace, at home) and help anyone live a happier, healthier, more engaged life. Research has shown that more mindful people have greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of their emotions, can pay attention and concentrate more easily, and recover from bad moods more quickly. They also enjoy more satisfying relationships.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION?
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is foundation course that invites participants to use simple meditation techniques and gentle movement, to notice any thoughts, emotions or sensations that arise and to learn to be more present to their experience. The Session is made up of a combination of mindfulness meditation, gentle movement, discussions and instruction.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MINDFULNESS?
Here are some links / books that may be of interest:
The Mindful Manifesto (Book by Dr Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell)
Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University
Mindful.org (Mindfulness News, Features and Comment)
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre
ABOUT ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS
Our workshops provide an opportunity to work with leading members of our faculty over the course of a highly structured session.
Sessions are limited to 16 participants and will be based at The School of Life. Food and drink, including lunch, is included in the ticket price.