What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a term used to describe a particular way of paying attention to our current experience.  It involves deliberately tuning in to what is happening within or around us without judging it or trying to change it. It is a practical skill that can be learned by anyone and can help people to approach their life in a way that is less stressful and more rewarding regardless of what the circumstances are.

Mindfulness is about observation of the mind without criticism and being compassionate with ourselves. When unhappiness or stress hover overhead, rather than taking it all personally, we learn to treat them as if they were  clouds in the sky, and to observe them with friendly curiosity as they drift past.  Mindfulness allows us to catch negative thought patterns before they tip us into a downward spiral. It begins the process of putting us back in control of our life.

Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood and levels of happiness and wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily.