Why Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be described as paying curious, caring attention to what’s happening right now, to understand it more fully, and to allow it to unfold more freely without judgment or criticism. It’s like building mental muscle – training attention to be where you want it to be. It is not about blissing out or emptying the mind and doesn’t involve arcane rituals. It is equally not about pursuing perfection; it is a practical technique available to all. Like regular gym sessions, with gentle, systematic cultivation Mindfulness practices can increase mental flexibility and resilience, thus opening up space and distance from the situations in which we get stuck, triggered or confused in daily life.

– In 2012 NICE concluded that MBCT (a form of Mindfulness) was at least as effective as anti-depressants in treating clinical depression. The Mental Health Foundation recommended the NHS should routinely prescribe Mindfulness for depression.

– TfL has seen the number of days taken off because of stress, anxiety and depression fall by 71% since introducing employees to Mindfulness.

– Over the past year Mindfulness classes have been delivered in Parliament with 95 MPs having completed or signed up for classes. Lord Andrew Stone described how he used mindfulness to steady himself after he became “scared” when he was dispatched to Cairo for meetings with Egypt’s military leadership recently. “I didn’t know how to cope,” he said. “But these practices made a massive difference”.
How does it work?

Recent studies within the field of neuroscience have demonstrated that Mindfulness calms the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the classic ‘fight or flight’ response. It promotes changes in the structure of the brain (a process known as ‘neuroplasticity’) increasing the grey matter in the hippocampus (responsible for decisions and memory) and decreasing activity in the amygdala (responsible for surges of aggression and fear).

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