What is wellbeing?
Wellbeing relates to both our minds and our bodies.
Mental wellbeing means feeling valued and good about ourselves, having a sense of purpose and control over our lives, functioning well as an individual and in relationships, and connecting to the wider world.
Physical wellbeing involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows us to conduct our daily activities without stress or fatigue. To this end, we need to look after our bodies and recognise that our habits and behaviours can significantly impact our overall health and quality of life.
What is Mindfulness?
Using tools and techniques like meditation, breathing and mindful movements, we learn to pay attention to the present moment without judgement. By becoming aware of our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations in the here and now, we’re better able to manage them instead of being overwhelmed by them.
Mindfulness can help change the way we relate to experiences and thoughts.
What is Meditation?
Zen meditation is a process where we practise coming back to the breath, connecting to sensations in the body, and detaching from thoughts. When we take time out of busyness and sit in silence to meditate, our minds quieten, and our bodies relax.
Meditation can be mistaken for a simple relaxation practice, but it’s not. It is pivotal in mindfulness training and practice, along with other mindfulness techniques and tools. Combined, they provide a chance to rest, relax and get in touch with ourselves.
What are the potential benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a tool for life. It gives us the opportunity to catch our breath, create mental space, be more efficient and recharge our batteries.
More specifically, on a mental level, it helps us to:
enjoy our lives more in the present and live less in the past or future
improve our relationships with others and ourselves
increase our concentration
be more at ease with what-is.
On a physical level, it can alleviate stress-related tension and aches. Stress often manifests itself in our bodies. As we practise noticing and detaching from chains of thoughts, deep tensions in the body dissolve away. Regular mindful movements such as yoga, tai chi or qigong help keep our bodies moving and flexible.
When we connect to the breath on purpose, without judgement, our bodies understand that ‘all is well in this moment’, allowing us to relax wherever we are, and no matter how little time we have.
Is mindfulness for me?
Anyone can learn and practise mindfulness: children, young people and adults.
We have all experienced unpleasant emotions, stress and physical pain at some point. It is part of normal life. Whatever our age, mindfulness can help us cope with challenges. But it can also help us make the most of opportunities: when we lock ourselves in our thoughts, we don’t see all the options available to us. Mindfulness can help us see things more clearly.
How can I learn mindfulness?
With the increased interest in mindfulness, there are now a lot of mindfulness apps out there. But a course with a qualified mindfulness teacher is still the best way to learn mindfulness in a safe space where you can ask any questions you might have.
Mindfulness courses are taught in person or online, either in a group or on a one-to-one basis, by qualified mindfulness teachers.
Even though mindfulness has Buddhist origins, the content that I teach is entirely secular and uses evidence-based techniques. I provide a safe place where you can learn helpful tools. Take a look at my testimonials page to see some comments from past course participants.
Mindfulness research has come a long way since its early days in the 1980s, when it focused on people experiencing chronic pain and stress. Today, there is plentiful evidence showing that mindfulness is beneficial to health and wellbeing. Research has shown that mindfulness can boost attention and concentration, give more insight into emotions and improve relationships.
The UK government officially recognised the importance of mindfulness in 2015 when it published the Mindful Nation UK report. The first policy document of its kind, it seeks to address mental and physical health concerns in the areas of education, health, the workplace and the criminal justice system through the application of mindfulness-based interventions.
If you want to find out more about research on mindfulness and its benefits, I’ve included research snippets on various pages of this site. I’m also happy to share more references, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.