What is Mindfulness?
A non-judgemental awareness of the present moment
Mindfulness simply means paying attention, on purpose. Being really aware of what is going on for you in the moment; in thoughts, feelings and body sensations, without judging it. It is a balanced acceptance of experience – just as it is. Sharon Salzberg.
Ancient Wisdom Meets Science
Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism. An ancient practice which today interlinks with psychology and neuroscience. Whilst the roots of Buddhism remain, the courses running today (MBSR and MBCT) are based on scientific evidence. It is a set of mental awareness skills. Training the muscle of the mind to be aware of thoughts, feelings and body sensations as they arise in the moment. This powerful skill enables us to harness our attention, in the breath or body, at any given moment giving us space between a stimulus and our reactions to it. We learn we do not have to react to all of life’s difficulties.
Mindfulness is the master key for knowing the mind, the perfect tool for training the mind and freedom of the mind – Nyanaponika Thera (1962)
Getting Out of Our heads
We spend much of our time lost in thought – problem-solving, planning, worrying about the future, thinking about the past. We are rarely present, caught up in automatic pilot, depleting our energy and leading to exhaustion and discontent.
By being more present in our daily life, we open up the present moment pathway in the brain to more joy, positivity and richness. We are able to have a wider perspective, appreciating all the good things in our life, alongside the difficulties.
Can we make the most of the only moments we ever have…The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. They are your life (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
Reducing Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Mindfulness is scientifically proven to reduce stress by 40%, anxiety by 58% and depression by over 50% (BeMindful). It is as effective as anti-depressants. Mindfulness changes how the brain responds to difficult situations. Awareness is so powerful we can unhook from negative emotions / thoughts before we spiral down and become reactive or overwhelmed. It changes our relationship to stress, anxiety, and depression by helping us to untangle the knots we tie ourselves in and manage our mental health with greater balance and self-compassion.
Mental Health Benefits
- Reducing stress, anxiety and low mood.
- Responding rather than reacting.
- Being more present and finding more joy.
- Increasing self-compassion.
- Letting go of perfectionism and self-criticism.
- Reducing comparisons to others and fear of being judged.
- Resilience and inner strength.
- Increasing focus, concentration and memory.
Physical Health Benefits
- Decreasing hypertension.
- Increasing the immune system.
- Managing chronic pain.
- Increasing quality of sleep.
- Managing healthy eating and a healthy weight.
- Increasing reaction times.
- Increasing physical and mental stamina.