What are the benefits of Mindfulness?

So what are the benefits of Mindfulness?  Let's start by backing up just a little.

Have you noticed how 'well-being' seems to be one of the latest fads?  This isn’t just some clever marketing ploy; it is because everybody is waking up to the fact that it really matters.  In fact, one could say it matters more than anything else.

According to www.dictionary.cambridge.org, well-being is defined as “the state of ​feeling healthy and happy; the World Happiness Report even highlights well-being as its main factor.

The truth though, is that we are far from a well-being nation.  In the Mental Health Foundation’s 2007 booklet ‘Fundamental Facts’, the figures are quite alarming - in any one year 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one mental disorder - anxiety and depression being the most common.

And well, isn’t it any wonder, when so many of us are leading extremely busy, stressful, lives?  When we aren’t commuting, we are working 8 hours a day, looking after the children/animals/parents, catching up with household chores, helping the children with their homework, going shopping etc. etc.  Add the whole social media side of things, and we are never relaxing for more than 30 seconds before pulling out our phone, logging onto facebook, twitter etc. etc............our minds are constantly! on the go.  And many of us are running on empty.

In 2013, the Mental Health Foundation’s survey found that nearly half the public felt stressed every day or every few days, and 59% said their life was generally more stressful than it was five years ago. 

Now whilst a little stress every now and again is fine (and we can help ourselves by eating well, exercising, getting regular sleep etc. etc.), prolonged stress can be detrimental to both mental and physical health. 

Mindfulness has been proven to be especially effective in reducing anxiety and stress (see scientific research link below).  The techniques we learn can be put into practice during the day whenever we feel stressed.  It helps us to calm down, and it is particularly useful for handling those moments when we feel totally overwhelmed.  It also enables us to re-spond rather than re-act.

But that’s not all it’s good for.  Here’s what the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Be Mindful’ report says of the benefits of Mindfulness:-

  • can snap out of bad moods quickly
  • lower social anxiety
  • less frequent negative thoughts
  • can express oneself better
  • improved problem-solving
  • increased focus and attention
  • increased self-awareness
  • higher self-esteem
  • more optimistic
  • greater insight
  • easier to let things go
  • better physical well-being
  • fewer visits to the doctor/hospital
  • better immune system
  • lower blood pressure.
  • better identify and describe feeling
  • more satisfying relationships
  • better at communicating
  • less likely to react defensively
  • not so stuck in repetitive thinking
  • more connected with others
  • greater life satisfaction
  • better memory
  • improved creativity
  • more compassion for self and others
  • better at learning new skills
  • easier to handle challenges
  • sleep better
  • more in control
  • improved motivation.

Sounds like a pretty great list of the benefits of Mindfulness!

Mindful Living

We can reap some of the benefits of Mindfulness quite easily by taking time-out to practice on a regular basis, however, if we wish to make the absolute most of the benefits, we need to incorporate Mindfulness more fully into our daily lives – what we call Mindful Living.

Once we have grasped the principles, it becomes so portable, so easy to weave into our everyday life.  Imagine mindfully walking, commuting, sitting, working, speaking on the telephone, talking to your partner/clients, listening to your screaming child etc etc. 

Mindful living really can be life changing!

“It’s very transportable. People can do it in their cars, and turn ordinary, dull moments like standing in a supermarket queue into a Mindfulness exercise, instead of getting angry with the person in front of them because they’re not moving fast enough…………...”. 

Professor Mark Williams, Director-Oxford Mindfulness Centre, Oxford University - ‘Be Mindful’ Report.

January 2010

How Mindful are you?

Would you like to find out how mindfully you currently live your life? 

Below is a link to a simple, well known, and scientifically tested Mindfulness questionnaire.  It was devised by Kirk Warren Brown and Richard M. Ryan of the University of Rochester, USA, in 2003.

All you need to do is answer 15 questions, add up your score, and then divide it by 15.  There’s no sign up and it's totally anonymous.  The total score ranges from 1 to 6.  The higher the score, the more mindful you are. 

Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)

 “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"

Made famous by John Lennon; actually dates back to Readers Digest 1957

So you've heard about the benefits of Mindfulness, are you keen to find out about the course now?  Click the link below.  Further questions?  You should find your answers in Frequently Asked Questions.