What is Mindfulness?

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of training the mind that can help with concentration, focus and performance and it is done in a non-judgemental and patient way through directing attention to the breath and different parts of your body. It is best if you try it out for yourself.

The process is similar to when you go to a gym for your body. You read about it – get the kit ready for it – go to the gym to have a look but it only really works when you try it out for yourself and have a go. It can be challenging at the beginning but the more you practice, the more you get out of it. It requires time and a strong commitment to start with, but as time goes by and you continue to practice mindfulness you really begin to notice a difference.

You learn to place your attention  and awareness where you want it to be, in the present moment, without judging yourself, and doing so in a kind and friendly manner towards yourself.

How to approach developing your own mindfulness practice.

Whilst you may wish to read a bit more about mindfulness to get more background, I would recommend that you join a class where you can share ideas with other people and you commit to giving yourself the time to develop your own daily mindfulness practice. Being guided through each stage of the mindfulness process with a trained teacher is one of the best ways to engage in the mindfulness process. You learn the value of putting aside at least 10 minutes each day to do your daily mindfulness practice, following the guidelines that your teacher gives to you.

You can begin with one of the Taster sessions or an Introduction session, then move onto the Intermediate and Advanced courses. You can take your time and decide on your own pace as you move through the different levels and build up your qualifications. At each stage you will develop more of an understanding about mindfulness and try out more and more different techniques for yourself. Mindfulness Matters courses are available to all – young and old; beginners and experienced participants.

After the courses are completed, participants will have the opportunity to develop and establish their own mindfulness practice for personal use and may build up sufficient experience to gain mindfulness qualifications for their professional use. The courses will be accredited and can be used by school teachers, counsellors, youth worker, sports coaches and others for their continuing professional development.

What does Mindfulness Matters offer?

All of the Mindfulness Matters courses are based on Mindfulness – Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses. The curriculum structure, practices and teaching styles of these two mindfulness courses have undergone much research and have a strong evidence-base for success. The teaching framework relates to the psychological principles of cognitive behaviour therapy and modern scientific research in neuroscience.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP)have developed programmes for teachers, teenagers and younger children for use in the classroom situation based on the principles and practice of MBCT and MBSR. Mindfulness Matters training programmes help adults develop the prerequisites for these MiSP courses and complement the training courses with advanced courses and retreats for teachers, counsellors, youth workers and sports coaches  and others so that they can maintain accreditation  and develop as mindfulness teachers. The opportunity to take part in building up evidence for continuing research is also offered to those on Mindfulness Matters courses where participants are given the chance to answer questionnaires that add to the database for different research projects in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Teenage .b courses have been developed on the foundation of MBCT and MBSR such that they appeal directly to a younger age group. The Wellcome Institute, along with Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter Universities and University of College of London and Kings College, have embarked, in 2015, on a 6 year research programme in the United Kingdom on mindfulness and wellbeing in adolescence, teacher training and neuroscience with the teenage brain. The courses they are researching have MBCT and MBSR as their underlying foundation and Jean Watson is one of their teacher trainers and will provide links between the research in the UK and that done in Australia.

Mindfulness Matters trainers undergo accredited training in  MBCT and/or MBSR mindfulness programmes and have extensive experience of teaching groups in the adult and children programmes. They maintain their own daily mindfulness practice so that their teaching is based on their own regular experiential mindfulness practice and they work within a framework of continuing professional development and supervision.

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