FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CANNOT COMMIT TO THE 8 WEEKS?
Research has shown that the benefits from mindfulness are best realised over an 8 week course. The courses are designed to build on skills taught and practised in the previous week. If you are concerned about the commitment we do offer some alternatives.
- Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Although this course is an 8 week course you can select to take just the first 4 weeks and complete the remaining 4 weeks at a later stage.
- Taster sessions and workshops – these are run throughout the year but only give a brief overview of mindfulness.
Is mindfulness religious?
No. Mindfulness is our inherent capacity to notice, in the present moment, all that we are experiencing with an open and allowing attitude. It is a basic human capability that can be developed with training, through practice and patience. Although it is not owned by any group, the cultivation of mindfulness can be found in many contemplative traditions, and the most comprehensive approach is found in Buddhist teachings. However in the context of the workplace, mindfulness practice is a form of mental training that is entirely secular and does not require commitment to a spiritual tradition. We teach only secular meditation on our courses.
What happens during a mindfulness session?
In mindfulness sessions you will be taught – and encouraged to practice – a variety of meditations, (very) gentle movement exercises and a number of habit-breaking techniques. We sit on chairs, lay down or stand up – whichever is most comfortable for you – we don’t sit crossed legged (unless you particularly want to) and we don’t chant… even if you do want to!
Are mindfulness and meditation the same thing?
If mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention that enables us to be present with our experience, just as it is, then meditation is one way of familiarising ourselves with this type of awareness and then cultivating it further. There are different types of meditation that do different things, much like there are different exercise machines in a gym that develop different muscles. The guided ‘home practices’ that form part of a mindfulness course are essentially exercises that are designed to develop an attentive, open, curious and caring attitude in relation to our experience.
What is the difference between the 2 stress courses you offer?
Mindfulness for Stress is a Breathworks course. It has been designed for anyone who wants to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with modern life and improve their mental well-being. It is based on key elements of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and approaches to compassion-based therapies.
Finding Peace in a Frantic World is an excellent introduction to mindfulness practices that have been proven to help people deal more effectively with stress, anxiety and mild depression. The course is based on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy which was developed by Mark Williams, John Teasdale and Zindel Segal as a treatment for recurrent depression.
Professor Mark Williams has adapted the MBCT 8 week course for a ‘well’ population. This course is based on up-to-date scientific understanding of mindfulness and consists of short but powerful mindfulness exercises that the majority of people can fit into a busy day. The main difference is that practice time is much shorter, and the order in which practices are taught is slightly different from the MBCT medical and therapeutic model. This course is a MBCT light course and suitable for those who are only experiencing mild depression.
Will I need to talk about my personal situation?
No – you may be asked how you feel following particular exercises to help you tune your technique and ensure you’re getting the full benefit – but mindfulness is not counselling.
Is mindfulness right for me?
If you are currently experiencing on-going low-level anxiety/stress or low-mood then the Stress courses are for you. If however you are suffering depression or other mental health conditions we suggest that you wait until you are well before taking the course. Please feel free to contact us if you are unsure – 0777 196 5811
Is Mindfulness about being able to empty your mind?
Mindfulness practice is not about stopping thoughts or zoning out. This form of mental training is about becoming more aware of the unique patterns of your mind, and that includes the nature of your thoughts. With sustained and disciplined practice we can develop our ability notice what draws our attention away from the task, whether that task be a mindfulness exercise or a workplace activity. By recognising distraction and coming back to the desired object of our awareness, we both strengthen our ability to stay focused and learn about the nature of the thoughts that distract us.
Is the aim of mindfulness is to become relaxed and chilled out?
The main intentions of mindfulness training is improving self awareness, which increases your ability to manage yourself. This in turn helps us to improve our well being. Relaxation may be a welcome by-product, but it should not be considered the aim. In fact, mindfulness practice requires us to ‘turn towards’ experience as it is, even if that’s uncomfortable or unpleasant. By holding any difficultly with care and curiosity, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn from it and develop more skillful ways of responding.