We can't always choose what happens to us or how other people behave,
but with Mindfulness what we can have is more choice
in how we respond to life's events.
And with that choice, more power and more freedom.
Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: of our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. This allows us to clearly perceive thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur without reacting in automatic or habitual ways that can generate stress.
By developing a new relationship with the conditions we find ourselves in we begin to find we have choices about how we respond. Experiences don't overwhelm us and we can remain steady through life's ups and downs. Mindfulness isn't a cool and detached awareness though - it's warm, gentle, and kind. Towards the end of the course we'll introduce a kindness meditation, which will help you to develop this aspect of mindfulness further. Like mindfulness, developing kindness for ourselves and others has been proven to reduce stress.
During the course we will be engaging in various activities to foster mindfulness. These include formal meditation practices, as well as small things we can do in the midst of our daily lives, such as doing a routine task mindfully, taking a break and slowing down a little. In particular we'll be using the body sensations and the breath to help develop awareness. The aim of meditation is not to prevent the mind wandering off - which it will do, repeatedly - but to get into the habit of learning to check-in with our experience so we have choices in how we respond.
The formal meditation aspect of the course is focused practice at learning to check-in, and the informal mindful activities are ways to extend that learning into our daily lives. We need both. During the course you are encouraged to try out all the different practices fully, so that at the end of the course you can decide which practices work best for you.
Who can benefit?
The "Mindfulness for Stress" course is for anyone dealing with the sort of "everyday" stress that often comes with modern life. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety or any other mental health condition please see the FAQs page for further advice on whether this course might be helpful for you.
If you are living with a physical health condition but are unable to attend the Mindfulness for Health course you are very welcome to attend the Mindfulness for Stress course instead and will be provided with as much support as possible to enable you to get the most from it.
Home practice is a very important part of the course. The benefits of Mindfulness cannot be felt without regular daily practice and so during the course you will be asked to use the audio-guided Mindfulness meditations that come with the course at home for 10 to 20 minutes twice a day every day.
If you would like to listen to an example of one of the meditation practices from the course you can do so here.
By the end of the course you will have a wide range of practices, both formal meditations and informal everyday practices, built into your daily life to help sustain your wellbeing and stress resilience. One of the key benefits of taking a Mindfulness course is to get the guidance, support and motivation necessary to make the daily commitment to both types of practice that can make such a difference in the long-term.
After the Course
There is the opportunity to meet up with others once a month once you have completed a course. These mornings provide an opportunity for longer periods of practice than we might be doing on our own and help support our ongoing practice by giving us the chance to share our experiences of Mindfulness.