Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Learn to relate and take control over whatever is happening in your life, do something for yourself that no one else can do for you.

Increase your ability to relax, improve your self-esteem, and have more energy and enthusiasm for life.

What is Mindfulness?

There are many definitions. The UK Mental Health Foundation's description is a good place to start:

"Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings so we become more aware of them, less enmeshed in them, and better able to manage them".

This can sound counter intuitive as most of us go out of our way to avoid painful experiences! However as Jon Kabat-Zinn (the founder of the secular mindfulness based stress reduction program) states: "Tuning in trumps tuning out every time". By simply becoming aware of our automatic thoughts and (often) unconscious behaviours and naming them we tend to tame them, and not make them worse as is often feared.

Mindfulness is also described as the non judgemental awareness of each moment as it arises, or observation without criticism. Mindfulness teaches us to see our internal and external world with some increased clarity, so we may learn how to respond rather than react to life's challenges. There are many proven health benefits to mindfulness meditation described in the following pages but it is important to remember that in itself, mindfulness is a way of being, rather than a goal driven enterprise. Many benefits are enjoyed by meditators including better health and improved overall levels of happiness and well-being, which comes from being compassionate with yourself instead of the usual beat up of negative thoughts and self criticism which so many of us seem endure in one form or another. Other benefits include an increased ability to relax, improved self-esteem, and a greater energy and enthusiasm for life.

Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, and a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you.

Mindfulness is mental training, not a religion, which does not take up too much time but which does require a little persistence. It is illusive rather than complicated, and can be practiced anywhere, any time. The 8 week course is simply designed to get you started and learn the techniques involved.

An illustration of Mindfulness: