Mindfulness is the act of deliberately paying attention in a particular way in the present moment. It is a form of self-awareness training similar to meditation but is not dependent on any belief or ideology.
It is non-judgemental and open-hearted so that the attitude of mindfulness is gentle curiosity for whatever comes up on a moment by moment basis.
Mindfulness is an awareness that is not thinking, but that is aware of thinking; a stepping back and observing the action of the mind, as well as awareness of each of the other ways we experience the sensory world, i.e. seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling through the body. Mindfulness strengthens the ‘observing’ function, promoting an experience of ‘being in the here and now’ as well as an acceptance of ‘what is’.
Being mindful is the opposite of being absent-minded or on automatic pilot. Thus, mindfulness helps to disengage the auto pilot of thoughts and of constant doing. In this way we become free to observe without identifying with the content of our thoughts. We are free to respond rather than react. This not only puts the mind and body in a healing state so that we are less stressed but it also has real benefits in everyday life.
What mindfulness is not:
Mindfulness is not ‘emptying the mind’
Mindfulness is not meant to relax you
Mindfulness in not meant to ‘work’
Mindfulness is not trying to get you somewhere
Mindfulness is not meant to make you cheerful
Mindfulness is not hypnosis
“Mindfulness is taking control of your mind rather than allowing your mind to be in control of you”. T. Linehan
Apps and Podcasts
Here is a link to Mark Williams’ 8 mindfulness audio tracks available free on youtube.
http://buddhify.com/ Mindfulness app
http://www.mindfulcreation.com/apps Mindfulness apps
https://moodle.warwick.ac.uk/enrol/index.php?id=24645 a "mindful library" webpage offering a range of resources
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/mindfulness-wellbeing-performance free online course on mindfulness
‘The Mindful Way Through Depression’ by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Zabat-Zinn
Focuses on prevention of recurrence of depression but many of the patterns of mind addressed are universal and common to us all so much more widely useful than just for low mood. The meditations on the CD are narrated by John Kabat-Zinn (founder of MBSR), and are longer e.g. Body Scan 30 mins, closely following the evidence-based curriculum for MBCT which is normally delivered in eight two hours per week group sessions
‘Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’ by Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman Aimed less at those with a history of clinical depression, and more at generally enhancing well-being though lifting mood, reducing emotional reactivity, and improving stress resilience. Much shorter meditations which are meant to be used twice a day, e.g. Body Scan 14 mins, narrated by Mark Williams. These are also available on iTunes.
The following references are available from the University Library either in hard copy, CD or ebooks. Most are readily available to buy either in bookshops or over the internet. There are also a limited number of books in the Learning Grid and the Bio-med Grid.
|Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life||Kabat-Zinn, J.||(1994)|
|Full Catastrophe Living: How to Cope with Stress, Pain and Illness Using Mindfulness Meditation||Kabat-Zinn, J.||(1990)|
Please see list of other self-help references.
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