Mindfulness is a particular kind of attentiveness to our experience.
One thing you’ve no doubt noticed is that our minds have minds of their own. You've seen this when you find that your thoughts keep turning, against your will, to something you're worried about, or when you're talking to someone and you find that your attention keeps wandering. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) says that mindfulness is attention which is
When we're mindful, part of our attention is standing back and observing our experience. It's the difference between
knowing that you're angry and simply being angry. When we're just being angry we're not aware of any part of our experience that’s not coloured by anger. But when we're standing back, the part of us that's standing back is "above the fray" and isn't itself angry. The part of us that is observing our experience is separate from and unaffected by it. Mindfulness brings a sense of freedom because of this quality of standing back.
Neuroscientists are discovering that when we practise mindfulness we switch into a different brain circuitry, the parasympathetic nervous system, which can lead to our immediately feeling calmer and as though we are looking at our situation from a different vantage point giving us a bigger perspective.
Next courses start
East Grinstead: 3 October 2016: 7.30 - 9.30 St Dunstan's Church, Hammerwood Rd, Ashurst Wood RH19 3QU
Caterham: 5 October: 7.30-9.30 URC Church, Harestone Hill CR3 6SX
and for the following 8 weeks.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Course
Most people completing mindfulness programmes report they gain lasting benefits such as:
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses are designed for you to learn new ways of handling negative thoughts and difficult emotions. This helps prevent and alleviate low mood, depression, anxiety and stress and can lead to a much a richer experience of life.
Mindfulness can enable you to see things differently. It can increase your sense of personal confidence, of having more options and more strength to face the different challenges in your life.
The courses are taught in two hour sessions at weekly intervals lasting eight weeks – plus an optional all-day session usually on a Saturday. They provide a high level of practical and theoretical guidance and support in the practices of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. Home practice is an important part of the course, and each participant is required to undertake to do 40 to 60 minutes of this, six days per week, between each class.
Recommended for use in the NHSThe Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course is widely approved by the healthcare professions, and backed by scientific research. Our programmes are based on the MBSR course developed by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, emeritus professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, as well as the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course developed by Professor Zindel Segal, Mark Williams (Professor of Clinical Psychology, Oxford University) and Dr John Teasdale (Cambridge).
Recommended by NICE
Clinical research has consistently shown mindfulness is helpful for working with a wide range of conditions, as well as for optimising well-being. The MBCT course we use is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for use in the NHS (NICE clinical guidelines are recommendations on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS in England and Wales. They are based on the best available evidence and aim to improve the quality of healthcare by changing the process of healthcare and improving people's chances of getting as well as possible).
The benefits of mindfulness practice are cumulative. Therefore regular practice is needed to get the best out of the course. You may notice after the first few sessions of the course a considerable improvement in how you feel, but there may be times when it feels that little is happening. Continuing the training and following the practices are essential.
Recommended reading is an important part of the course but of less importance than the practices.
The eight weeks of the course costs £220 for the courses in East Grinstead, West Sussex and in Godstone and Caterham in Surrey- unless you book 3 weeks ahead, in which case it is £195 - and covers the taught sessions, a free introduction and a free follow up session, an all-day workshop, a set of MP3 downloads (or CDs) to support home practice and a workbook.
There are a few concessions for those who are in full-time education or in receipt of benefits and not currently working. Details available on request.