What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is learning to be present to life by purposefully bringing a gentle and non-judgemental awareness to thoughts, emotions and sensations.
While often we believe that we have an accurate perception of what is happening now, in reality that perception is clouded by internal judgments based on previous experiences, beliefs about myself, likes and dislikes, preconceptions, internal self-talk and striving to achieve specific outcomes. Consequently, my perception of the present may actually be completely different to what is really happening!
Conversely, because the mind naturally tends to wander (this is the default state of the mind), my thoughts are frequently elsewhere, and I tend to go into ‘autopilot’, operating in a complete state of unawareness. In the same way, the preoccupation that many of us have with the future and the past means that we miss out on what is happening right now.
With training and practice, mindfulness helps to develop an awareness of the present.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
In bringing non-judgemental awareness to the present, mindfulness changes the nature of experience. It enables a person to notice thoughts, emotions and sensations, without getting caught up in them; to be open to what arises. Instead of impulsively reacting, to observe and to appropriately respond. It helps to re-establish a connection between mind and body – a connection that is frequently dissociated by chronic stress, thereby helping to identify and reduce physical symptoms associated with psychological distress.
Regular mindfulness practice is associated with a greater sense of
- Awareness & insight
- Ability to pay attention
- Ability to regulate emotions
- Calm and equanimity (the sense that I can manage what life brings, even in difficult situations)
- Compassion for self and others
- Sense of common humanity
What is mindfulness used for?
Recognising that mind wandering and lack of awareness are important drivers of anxiety and general discontent, contemporary mindfulness was developed with the primary intention of helping individuals better manage and respond to psychological and physical stress and to restore psychological wellbeing. Since the development of Mindful-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the practical application of mindfulness has further been adapted to assist people with a variety of everyday and clinical conditions, including anxiety, depression, weight loss, sport performance, alcohol and drug use, pain, cancer and diabetes.
Over the past 20 years, hundreds of clinical studies have been published supporting the psychological and physical benefits of mindfulness.
Who should attend the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course?
Everyone can benefit from mindfulness. The MBSR course is appropriate for people who would like to learn how to improve their psychological well-being and relationships and to be better able to manage stress. However, like anything that needs to be learned, mindfulness does require commitment to regular (daily) practice.
Mindfulness is not a cure for anxiety or depression or any other illness, and is used in conjunction with, and to improve the effectiveness of, conventional medical treatment where that is appropriate.
What is the structure of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course?
The course is run over 8 sessions, held once a week over a period of 8 weeks. Since each session builds on the previous one, delegates are requested to attend all 8 sessions. Each session will also require commitment to daily home practice that will be discussed among the group at the next meeting. Some diary work at home is also required.
We have no formal courses planned for 2021. For more information please contact me. Contact
An introduction to mindfulness and diabetes (pdf): Mindfulness Diabetes