‘Do not dwell in the past, do not fret about the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.’

Mindfulness means paying attention in the present moment and without judgment. This special kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, and is a simple yet powerful route for getting ourselves back in touch with our own wisdom and vitality. If you talk to anyone who practices mindfulness, they will tell you that mindfulness, as well as helping them to live in the present moment, also allows them to enjoy life more and get things done.

Mindfulness enables us to be aware of our thoughts and emotions so we can make wise choices and respond better to different situations.

Mindfulness is increasingly used in the work place to improve professional and personal relationships and allow more effective working. As a nation, we’re under greater stress than ever. After bereavement and divorce, work is the third biggest cause of stress. Over half of all workers believe that stress is damaging their health. As well as impacting on people’s health and wellbeing, it can also damage social lives and relationships.

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for people who suffer from recurrent episodes of depression. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is also increasingly recognized as effective in reducing anxiety levels and managing stress.

Evidence based clinical studies highlight benefits such as: a 70 per cent reduction in anxiety, fewer GP visits, an ongoing reduction in anxiety three years after taking an MBSR course, an increase in disease-fighting antibodies with improvements to the immune system, longer and better quality sleep, with fewer sleep disturbances, a reduction in negative feelings like anger, tension and depression and improvements in physical conditions as varied as psoriasis, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The evidence in support of mindfulness techniques is so strong that many GPs think mindfulness would be beneficial not only for all their patients but for themselves as well.

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