What is mindfulness?
A few definitions of mindfulness:
Mindfulness is about knowing what is happening, whilst it is happening and knowing the mind's perception of what is happening. Suryacitta
Mindfulness is choosing to pay attention to the moment with kindness and curiosity. It's about noticing when your mind has wandered and bringing it back to what is right in front of you. Gaynor
A mindful approach increases our ability to understand and respond, rather than react to situations and others.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." Jon Kabat Zinn
Some Research, articles and what is said about the benefits of mindfulness:
Whilst mindfulness has been used for over 2500 years, the last 5 years it has become very popular in the West. As a result, there been a keen interested in the evidence base and more research has been done into the benefits of mindfulness. The research points towards a regular practice enhancing our ability to work creatively with our own mental and emotional states. As well as supporting:
increased emotional resilience
greater ability to focus
deeper empathy for others
greater clarity of thinking
better health and wellbeing
If you're curious to know more check out the references below.
Research and articles
Mindfulness cic works in partnership with Coventry University and is involved in a number of research projects.
An evaluation of Mindfulness cic 8 week vision and transformation course focusing on work-related factors by Elizabeth Sparks PhD and Anjulie Dhillion MSc (2016).
8 week mindful eating course experiences.
Shareena Lal and Elizabeth Sparks (2016)
The purpose of this study was to add to the very limited qualitative literature concerning non-clinical sample (i.e. Smart et al. 2015) through exploring the experiences of participants after taking a mindful eating course.
Work in progress
We have a PhD student investigating the impact of the 8 week mindfulness and compassion vision and transformation course upon on the heart both physically and emotionally, paying attention particularly to compassion.
We are currently exploring how well the 8 week Vision and Transformation course supports a smoking cessation attempt.
Research and articles from other institutions
Mindfulness meditation has helped many people with chronic pain. From the research it’s said that learning to use your attention and an attitude of non-judgement, lowers the effects of the pain.
Carson and colleagues (2005) found that mindfulness practice significantly reduced chronic lower back pain.
Tonelli (2014) found that a brief mindfulness practice can reduce migraine pain as well as the emotional tension associated with it.
Mindfulness can increase relaxation. Law (2011) found that just 10 minutes of practice can help.
Frederickson and colleagues (2008) found that meditation can increase feelings of love, contentment and joy. From their research they predicted greater life satisfaction and gratitude for life.
Leung and colleagues (2013) found that Mindfulness can increase emotional intelligence.
Harvard researched Mindfulness and found that regular mindfulness practice can give us a one second gap between an event or stimulus and our response to it.
One study by Kearney and colleagues (2013) found that meditation reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression.
Mindfulness at work
There has been an increase in research related to the effects of mindfulness in work and the workplace. This is a new and growing area of research generating many views, experiences and ideas. Below is a selection of the current body of research. Also included are a number of articles.
Mindfulness is effective in developing corporate social responsibility
Berkeley education – what we need mindfulness at work
Brain imaging research shows that a half hour of mindfulness meditation a day increases the density of grey matter in parts of the brain associated with memory, stress and empathy. Finally, mindfulness seems to increase concentration and focus.
Mindfulness in the workplace – Miami school of medicine
Eight-week program effective in clinical and non-clinical settings
Mental floss – six benefits of incorporating mindfulness at work
The Guardian Mindfulness at Work – what are the benefits?
The neurological benefits of mindfulness have been linked to an increase in emotional intelligence, specifically empathy and self-regulation. It’s the development of these areas that contribute to our ability to manage conflict and communicate more effectively.
By following these mindfulness exercises you will begin to realise that nothing is worth the unnecessary stress! You will be able to better understand your emotions and live a happier, healthier, mindfulness life.
NOTES: For all these guided meditations please find a comfortable chair before beginning. Sit upright and relaxed. If you are familiar with sitting on the floor in meditation posture then that is ok too.