© JANE JULIER VIOLS
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment without judging it. It is a mind-body based approach that helps you change the way you think and feel about your experiences, especially stressful experiences. Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning to pay wise attention to whatever is happening in your life that allows you a greater sense of connection to your life inwardly and outwardly

Although Buddhists and Yogis have been teaching these techniques for centuries, it is only relatively recently that their beneficial effects on people suffering with medical conditions are being recognised and becoming mainstream in our health service. You do not need to be religious or spiritual to practice Mindfulness - it is simply a way of training the mind.

How can Mindfulness help?
Over recent years, Mindfulness has been scientifically tested and proven to help people deal with a vast number of psychological and physical conditions including:
 
• Anxiety
• Addictive behaviour
• Adjustment disorders
• Allergic responses
• Bereavement
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME
• Chronic pain
• Depression
• Distress
• Eating disorders
• Fibromyalgia
• Functional illnesses
• Insomnia
• Neurological conditions
• Psoriasis
• Relationship dysfunction
• Self esteem issues
• Work- related stress
 
Trials have also shown it can boost the immune system and help us heal from illness faster.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which is an independent organisation providing evidence and recommending treatment plans to the NHS, acknowledges the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programmes.

Recently a study was undertaken to assess the effects of a MBSR programme that was delivered in a corporate setting, during working hours with healthy but stressed employees rather than medical patients. Over the eight week course, the electrical activity in certain areas of the brain associated with emotions shifted in a direction that suggested that the participants were handling anxiety and frustration more effectively.
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