What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.
Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, helped bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviours.
Research now shows that mindfulness can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives. It has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, improves our focus, resilience, memory, and has a whole host of health benefits, including increased immune function and powerful anti-ageing properties. People who practice mindfulness report feeling calmer and happier, having more fulfilling relationships, and experiencing a greater sense of life satisfaction and wellbeing.
Mindfulness-based therapy research shows an increase in the concentration of grey matter in the parts of the brain associated with learning and memory, emotional regulation, and perspective taking. This means that we can be calmer, less reactive, more mentally resilient, and less likely to fall into negative or unhelpful emotional patterns.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Decreased Stress - shown to be an effective way to reduce stress and improve mental resilience.
Helps ease Anxiety and Depression - Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to prevent depression.
Improves our Physical Health - enables our bodies to be in a more natural, relaxed, and calm state which has an overall effect on our health and wellbeing.
Enhanced Ability to Deal with Illness - mindfulness may not take away symptoms, but it can help make them more manageable also helps patients to focus less on the pain, improving their quality of life (Garland & Howard, 2013).
Facilitation of Recovery - can help you deal with a chronic or potentially terminal illness or life-threatening event and can also help you move on from it.
Can help reduce addictive and self-destructive behaviour
Improves Focus and Efficiency - with regular practice helps us focus our attention, become less distracted, and helps us to channel our full attention towards the task at hand and therefore be more efficient and productive.
Hardwires your Brain to be Calmer and Less Reactive - research shows that mindfulness-based therapies increase the concentration of grey matter in the parts of the brain associated with learning and memory, emotional regulation, and perspective taking. This means that we can be calmer, less reactive, more mentally resilient, and less likely to fall into negative or unhelpful emotional patterns.
Improves Sleep - can help us relax, unwind, and calm our nervous system, which in turn helps us get a better night’s sleep.
Helps Improve the Quality of Our Relationships - when we are calmer, less reactive, and more emotionally available to listen to people and share quality time with them, we are more likely to enjoy positive relationships with our partners, friends, and family.
Helps us Feel Happy and More Fulfilled - practicing mindfulness can have such a positive impact on our happiness, wellbeing, and sense of fulfilment – it helps us shift from having an unhappy, wandering mind to a happier, more present mind. It is when our minds are fully present in the moment that we feel happiest. It also encourages you to break some of the unconscious habits of thinking and behaving that stop you from living life to the full.
Makes you More Self-Compassionate - mindfulness is a central component of self-compassion. Research into self-compassion has shown conclusively that people who are more self-compassionate tend to have more motivation, better health, and better relationships. They have less anxiety and depression and greater happiness with overall life satisfaction. This is due to the fact they have shown to have greater mental resilience.
Makes You Less Biased and More Objective - through mindfulness practice we can develop our ability to be non-judgemental and more objective. We can see the people, places, and things in our lives with fresh eyes rather than holding on to preconceived notions about them.
Helps Slow Ageing and Extend Life - in easing negative and stressful feelings, mindfulness can help to contribute towards us living healthier, happier lives. Whilst stress can have the side-effect of speeding up our biological clock, mindfulness can potentially help slow it down.
The Mindfulness Now programme offers a synthesis of mindfulness based approaches including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Flexible to meet the individual needs of a client, an 8 week wellbeing programme may be taken as personalised, one-to-one mindfulness meditation sessions or as weekly group mindfulness sessions.