"Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations".
Mindfulness is a practice that we (individuals and groups) can incorporate into daily life. It enables us to change the way we think and feel about our experiences, especially stressful experiences. An holistic practice, it increases our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.
When we intentionally practise being mindful, we feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. The UK Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now recommend MBCT for the treatment of recurrent depression. Research also shows positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behaviour, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
Mindfulness can be used as a tool to manage your wellbeing and mental health, helping you to:
- Make the most of your potential
- Cope with life
- Play a full part in your family, workplace, community and among friends
Mindfulness is not new - it has origins in the contemplative traditions of Asia, especially Buddhism. It has become increasingly common for mindfulness techniques to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.
Many of our therapists now include mindfulness in their clients' specific treatments, but it can also be taught as a practice in its own right, either 1:1 with a therapist, in a group class or as a self-help home programme.