Finding out about mindfulness

If you love to do your own research on any topic that’s new to you, then this page is a great way to get started. Here you’ll find:

  • An introduction to what mindfulness is all about and how it could help you
  • A list of recommended books and websites that Gillian and Ashley use regularly and find super-useful.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply paying attention to your experiences in the present moment, in a way that is non-judgmental, accepting and kind.

Being mindful creates the environment you need to develop a calm mind; it involves learning techniques that will help you avoid being swept away in a flood of anxious thoughts or emotions and, instead, live your life in the present moment.

When we add kindness and compassion to mindfulness, we learn to be caring towards ourselves and others, tolerant of our feelings, understanding and non-judgmental.

Mindfulness is a practical and effective life skill that can be used at home, at work, while you’re eating or walking. Practising mindfulness improves your focus and your resilience. You can use mindfulness techniques to improve your performance in your work, in your sport or in your studies. The techniques are simple, but their effects can be profound.

Find out what’s involved and uncover some of the benefits…

Why practise mindfulness?

Research has shown that learning mindfulness techniques has many benefits. In the last 30 years or so, scientific studies have revealed that practising mindfulness:

  • Helps reduce anxiety and stress
  • Increases self-acceptance and calmness
  • Improves your memory and your ability to concentrate
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Encourages general feelings of well-being and happiness
  • Helps people cope with things like chronic pain and conditions such as tinnitus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and asthma.

Practising mindfulness gives you a way to step back from your thoughts and emotions so you can see them more clearly. It gives you confidence that you can cope with whatever life brings!

What does the practice involve?

The exercises you use to train yourself to be mindful can be very simple. In a mindfulness class or one-to-one session, you might practise being consciously aware of the sensations you experience:

  • When you’re walking or eating mindfully
  • In the different parts of your body, as you sit in a chair
  • As your breath moves in and out of your body

Mindfulness is not a religious practice – and you don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor to use mindfulness techniques! It doesn’t involve trying to ‘empty’ your mind of thoughts. Instead, it shows you that you don’t have to be ruled by your thoughts, giving you the chance to see clearly.

When you begin learning mindfulness techniques, you’ll be gently guided through the practices in a supportive environment, so that you can confidently use the techniques for yourself in your everyday life.

How can you learn mindfulness?

You can learn mindfulness in a group with other people – as part of a workshop or course – or with a mindfulness coach in one-to-one sessions. Group sessions can be arranged for children at their schools, or for you and your colleagues at your workplace.

One-to-one coaching: Sessions tailored to your specific needs by your personal mindfulness coach. Person-to-person coaching is a great way to learn mindfulness – especially if you have a busy life that makes it difficult to commit to the fixed dates and times of a group course. read more

Classes and workshops: Learning mindfulness in a group allows you to interact with and share your experiences with other people. Start with a free introductory session or choose from a wide range of workshops and classes. read more

Retreats: Give yourself the space to reflect, refresh and flourish. Here’s a great opportunity to give yourself a weekend or day away from your over-full ‘to do’ list, to stop chasing your tail and simply focus on re-connecting with yourself. Excellent for beginners and for those who want give their mindfulness practice a boost. read more

Mindfulness in the workplace: Mindfulness sessions tailored to help you and your colleagues manage stress and maintain your resilience in the ever-changing work environment. Choose from a bespoke range of sessions, workshops and courses at your workplace or book onto one of our scheduled one-day workshops. read more

Mindfulness for children: Learning short, simple mindfulness techniques in the safety of the classroom can help young people concentrate better, feel calmer and learn more effectively. Introducing young people to simple mindfulness practices can change their lives – and yours! read more

Why pebbles?

Take a stroll along a beach and pick up a pebble; pause and experience a sense of calm and well-being amidst the busyness of your everyday life. Make a little stack of pebbles and think about bringing balance into your life. This is what The Moment is Now would love you to experience (without even having to go to the beach). find out more

Looking for more information?

Investigate Gillian and Ashley’s recommended resources to find information on a range of subjects, from getting started with mindfulness to free guided meditations.

Getting started with mindfulness

mindfulness-a-practical-guide-to-finding-peace-in-a-frantic-worldIf you’re thinking about trying an eight-week mindfulness course and would like to get a good overview of what’s involved beforehand, the book Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world will do that job for you brilliantly. Written by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, it will give you a sound overview of mindfulness and of the exercises you are likely to be asked to do as part of an eight-week course. The book comes with a CD of guided meditations.

Or you can:

Mindfulness practices for everyday life

living-in-the-moment-by-anna-blackLiving in the moment, by Anna Black, contains a wealth of ideas for practising mindfulness. The book is well-illustrated and easy to dip into, making it an ideal reference book. Anna Black’s book lifts the mindfulness practices off the page and really brings them to life.

 

peace-is-every-breath-a-practice-for-our-busy-livesTry reading a page a day of Peace is every breath: a practice for our busy lives, by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, to find ideas for everyday practices written in simple, beautiful words.

The scientist’s view

hardwiring-happiness-by-rick-hanson-phdHardwiring happiness, by Rick Hanson Ph.D., brings to life the neuroscience behind how the brain works and teaches you how to re-wire your brain for happiness. On Rick Hanson’s website, you can explore the science and sign up for his free e-newsletter, Just one thing.

The Greater Good Science Center sponsors scientific research into social and emotional well-being, including the benefits of mindfulness, gratitude practices and self-compassion. Their website includes information about this research and its practical application in personal and professional life.

Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. They bring together like-minded people from all walks of life and help them take practical action, drawing on the latest scientific research.

Mindfulness for children

sitting-still-like-a-frogSitting still like a frog, by Eline Snel, is a beautifully illustrated mindfulness book for children. The exercises are fun, accessible and creative. (By the way, adults love it too!)

 

calm-kids-by-lorraine-e-murrayIf you’d like to introduce the children in your life to meditation but don’t know where to start, Calm kids, by Lorraine E Murray, will guide you through the process. You can find out more on the Connected Kids™ website.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to encourage, support and research the teaching of secular mindfulness in schools. Their website contains information on how to bring mindfulness into the school environment.

Learning about self-compassion

self-compassion-by-kristin-neffFor anyone who wants to find out about developing this practice, Self-compassion, by Kristin Neff, is an ideal book. It’s also available in audio format.

There are free explanatory videos, guided meditations and self-compassion exercises on Kristen Neff’s self-compassion website.

Guided meditations – audios and videos

If you’re looking for audio or video meditations you can follow, try Tara Brach’s site.

Kristen Neff’s site also gives you access to guided meditations on self-compassion.

Other useful organisations

The following organisations offer useful information about mindfulness, along with professional training if you’d like to train be a mindfulness teacher, as well as courses and retreats for the general public:

How else can we help you?

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  • If you’ve any questions about mindfulness, please do get in touch using the pebble below.

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