Image of drop on water.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation which brings our full consciousness into the present moment. It is a way of achieving deep relaxation at the same time as enabling us to be fully present in our immediate experience.

Mindfulness practice has been defined as the act of deliberately paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally. Through Mindfulness exercises, we become aware of the full range of our experiences including sensory impressions, thoughts, imagery, emotions, urges and impulses (even becoming aware of the quality of Mindfulness itself), gently guiding attention back to the present moment when our mind is distracted.

Image of man meditating.

By not judging either the content or the processes of our mind, we become free to observe our mind without identifying with it. We are able to watch the stream of consciousness rather than getting caught up in it. We switch from our usual mode of doing to a mode of non-doing - of simply being.

Mindfulness has been used in therapeutic settings to alleviate anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress and addictions, and has been acknowledged as an effective way of helping people to be more accepting of difficult emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, shame and self-doubt. Mindfulness has enabled many people to be more compassionate towards themselves.

Image of calm water on lake.

I use Mindfulness as a personal practice and also when working with clients. It is not only a powerful and effective tool for dealing with the stresses of everyday life and the difficulties you face right now but is also a practice which can help you to achieve and maintain positive mental and emotional health throughout your life, no matter where you are, what problems you face or what you are experiencing. It is a skill to be learned and is a worthwhile investment. Whilst we may not have control over all the external things which have an impact on our lives, we do have some control over how we react to these events. Mindfulness is a way of developing a calmer and less reactive way of being. It promotes greater acceptance of what is and encourages a more compassionate relationship with ourselves.

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"While meditation may be cultivated as a formal practice once or twice a day for half an hour or so, the aim is to bring a fresh awareness into everything we do. Whether walking or standing still, sitting or lying down, alone or in company, resting or working, I try to maintain that same careful attention."

Stephen Baxter in Buddhism Without Beliefs (1997)

Click here to download an introduction to Mindfulness. This booklet includes a brief history of Mindfulness, guidance on how to practice and several links to online guided meditations which may be helpful to both beginners and experienced meditators.

How meditation rebuilds the brain

A study conducted at Harvard University indicates that meditation produces massive changes inside the brainís grey matter.

Feelguide

Read the full article.