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Mindfulness Practice. What is mindfulness about?. Based on a Eastern meditation tradition but is not dependent on any belief or ideology. It is about being aware of what is happening in the present on a moment-by-moment basis

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What is mindfulness about?

Based on a Eastern meditation tradition but is not dependent on any belief or ideology.

It is about being aware of what is happening in the present on a moment-by-moment basis

It is contrasted with states of mind in which attention is focussed elsewhere e.g. pre-occupation with memories, fantasies, plans or worries, and behaving automatically without awareness of ones actions.

It includes a sense of approaching all experience with openness and kindly curiosity, rather than avoiding difficult experience or judging them or us.


“paying attention in a particular way;

On purpose, in the present moment,

and non-judgmentally”

(Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994, pg4).




Foundations of Practice

Kabat-Zinn (1990) Seven Core attitudes

  • Non-judging

  • Patience

  • Beginners Mind

  • Trust

  • Non-Striving

  • Acceptance

  • Letting go/be or non-attachment

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is NOT:

‑ Positive thinking

‑ Just another relaxation technique

‑ Going into a trance

-Trying to blank your mind

Is it just distraction
Is It Just Distraction?

“Meditation is not an escape from life … but preparation for really being in life”

Thich Nhat Han

Mindfulness is essentially experiential – we practice it

  • Formal practice – meditation e.g. bodyscan, mindful movement, sitting practice, breathing space

  • Informal Practice – awareness of body sensations, thoughts, emotions and sensory input during daily life. Practiced in ordinary activities like eating, washing brushing teeth

The essence of mindfulness being vs doing
The Essence of Mindfulness: ‘Being’ vs. ‘Doing’

Striving vs. Non-Striving

Avoidance vs. Approach

Thoughts as ‘real’vs. Thoughts as thoughts

Living in the past and future vs. Living in the present moment

Indirect experience vs. Direct experience

Automatic vs. Intentional

MBSR - generic

The Stress Reduction Clinic was founded in 1979 in a teaching hospital in Mass. USA by Jon Kabat-Zinn, mainly for people with chronic pain and stress related disorders (see www,umassmed.edu)

MBCT ‑ specific

Developed in UK and Canada by Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal, cognitive therapists working with depression

Aimed at the prevention of depressive relapse; includes information on how depression is maintained

Participants trained when in remission

Similar 8‑week group format, based on MBSR with added cognitive therapy elements (Segal at al, 2002)


MBCT integrates two very different traditions:

  • The tradition of cognitive and clinical science, and

  • The tradition of Buddhist psychology and mindfulness meditation

From buddhist teaching dharma
From Buddhist Teaching (Dharma)

  • Mindfulness of the breath

  • Mindfulness of the body, in stillness and in movement

  • Mindfulness of thoughts

  • Mindfulness of everyday experiences

  • Compassion, acceptance

From cbt
From CBT

  • A cognitive model of vulnerability to emotional disorder

  • A cognitive model of what maintains distress

  • Options for working with negative thoughts

  • Increasing nourishing activities

  • Relapse prevention

What keeps us stuck in distress
What Keeps Us Stuck in Distress?

Avoid, run away

Add extra, ruminate, elaborate

Fight, struggle

Suppress feelings/thoughts

Painful Emotions


Keep asking 'why?'

Give up

Painful Memories


Focus on others' needs

Analyse, try to think

your way out

Block it out

Keep busy

The rowans hospice
The Rowans Hospice

How have we been using MBSR:

  • Heath Centre

  • Bereavement Groups

  • Staff

  • In my own therapeutic practice

Reading list
Reading List


  • Brantley, J. (2003) Calming your anxious mind. New Harbinger Publications.

  • Eckhart, T. (2002) Practicing the power of now. Hodder & Stoughton

  • Kabat-Zin, J. (2005) Wherever you go there you are. Hyperion

  • Santoreli, S. (1999) Heal thyself. Bell Tower.

  • Kumar, S. (2005) Grieving Mindfully. New harbinger

    Web Sites

  • Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice: University of Wales www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness