Mindfulness describes a way of paying attention. It's about being aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, and noticing rather than judging or reacting to that experience
Where does the course come from?
The course we teach is based on the MBSR course developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the USA., as well as the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course, developed by Segal, Williams and Teasdale. The two approaches are very closely related. The MBSR course has been used over thirty years to help with anxiety, chronic health problems, and general well-being. The MBCT course was developed more recently specifically for people with a history of depression, to help prevent relapse.
Is the course suitable for me if I have mental health issues?
The course is aimed at people who would like to find ways of coping with stress and anxiety, and/or increasing general well-being. It presumes a basic level of mental health as a starting point. If you have serious mental health problems, such as current severe depression, it is probably not the right course for you at this time. Please contact us to discuss your particular situation.
Is the course ok for me if I have physical problems and am not very flexible?
Absolutely. The course includes 'mindful movement' exercises based on yoga. However the movements are gentle and always adaptable to your particular abilities, health issues and injuries. We will not be standing on our heads or twisting into difficult poses.
Does the course have a religious agenda or affiliation?
No. The meditation techniques we teach have their roots in Eastern traditions like Buddhism and yoga, but they have been adapted specifically for use in a secular context. Mindfulness training is open to people of all religious (or non-religious) inclinations.
I don't see how I would have time to do the "homework" - is it necessary?
You will get more from the course if you are able to do the practices on a daily basis at home. However, we understand that many people who come to the course are suffering from stress, partly caused by leading a busy life. The main thing is to commit to doing your best, and to fit in the practices wherever you can. Some of the techniques you will learn are very short, and can help you to create space within a busy day without taking a lot of time.
What is the evidence that Mindfulness works?
Over the past few decades, randomised-controlled trials of MBSR and MBCT have shown that mindfulness-based approaches are effective in managing stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improving people's relationships, sharpening attention and aiding self-regulation. MBCT is recommended by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) for those who have had several episodes of clinical depression in order to reduce significantly the likelihood of future relapse.
Mindfulness-based approaches have also been shown to empower and reduce symptom perception among patients with physical health problems, including chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, gastrointestinal disorders and high blood pressure, as well as improving immune system functioning.
Leading literature on the subject includes:
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation (1990)
- Segal Z.V., Williams, J.M.G. & Teasdale J.D., Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression. A New Approach to Preventing Relapse (2002)