What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally” John Kabat-Zinn. It is a way of being more aware of what is going on within and around us and noticing when we’re on automatic pilot instead of being fully present in the moment.
The roots of mindfulness can be found in Buddhism and other ancient traditions, but it has been adapted and used in Western healthcare as an intervention and an aid to wellbeing. In the late 1970s, American John Kabat-Zinn was one of the first people to take mindfulness approaches and incorporate them into stress reduction programmes. He believed that it could help people to cope better with stress, pain and illness.
Here in the UK, an approach called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, is becoming more widely used within the NHS. Mindfulness practices might include: sitting meditation, awareness of breath and body, mindful movements, yoga and walking.
How can mindfulness help?
There is growing evidence to support the use of mindfulness practice in health and wellbeing settings. There have been trials using mindfulness-based therapies to help depression, anxiety, eating disorders, stress reduction and chronic pain - all with positive results. The idea is that mindfulness can teach people practical skills to help with daily and ongoing life challenges and physical and psychological health problems. Mindfulness can help us learn different responses to the things we struggle with and help us enjoy life more fully.
What is happening at the Trust?
Mindfulness is often taught in groups but can also be used in one-to-one therapy. Various health professionals from different disciplines incorporate mindfulness techniques or approaches into their one to one work with clients. Mindfulness based groups run regularly at our Positive Choices Recovery Centres and are also developing in other areas of the Trust. The Trust also runs lunchtime Mindfulness Meditation Sessions for staff. Mindfulness based groups are facilitated by various services and teams across the Trust including introductory sessions at our Recovery College.
Where to go to find out more
Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice: www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness
Mental Helath Foundation Mindfulness site: https://bemindful.co.uk/
Oxford Mindfulness Centre: www.oxfordmindfulness.org