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What is Mindfulness and How Does It Effect the NHS?

mindfullness

Benefits of Mindfulness

You may be thinking what is this wishy washy, hippy, mindfulness that is cropping up ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE, and you wouldn’t be the only one feeling like that. It seems to have exploded on the scene at lightening pace and the bearded man in the office, who drinks only locally sourced, organic, 5 year aged coffee is now preaching the life changing benefits of mindfulness.

Well don’t let its Buddhist past or it’s Hipster present put you off this useful tool, mindfulness can and should be used by everyone – Just some of the benefits include;

  • Reduction in visits to healthcare provider
  • Effective method of stress reduction
  • Reduction in psychological distress for sufferers of long term conditions
  • Boosting of the immune response to vaccination
  • 35% reduction in the symptoms of stress experienced by group of cancer patients
  • 65% improvement in quality of life experienced by group of cancer patients
  • Significant reduction in the recurrence of depression amongst people with three or more previous episodes of depression
  • Reduced intake of pain relieving medications amongst chronic pain sufferers

Source: http://www.mindfulnessscotland.org.uk

There are clear proven improvements in both your immediate mental health and your long term physical health – Is it high time we take this seriously and implement it as part of your prescribed medication?

Multitasking is the only skill that gets worse with practice – Deepak Chopra

What actually is mindfulness?

The benefits alone speak for themselves, but I figure you need some concrete information on what mindfulness is, how does this popularized trend give you health benefits?

Well according to the English Oxford Dictionary mindfulness is;
A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Okay so that might sound a little fluffy, but if we dissect it slightly, what the definition is trying to communicate is that mindfulness is a skill to be learned whereby we become really good at accepting what has happened, acknowledging we have little ability to control the future and arguably the best part of the skill, allowing us to master mentally being in the present moment.

 

mindfulness-apps

 

This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us. –  Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre

So for those cynics out there, it’s a scientifically evidence based skill, that helps us focus and get the most value out of our days, think of it that way.

What can I do right now to get immediate effects?

Of course, in the age we live in there is a plethora of apps on the market that’s sole aim is to bring you some inner peace. Some of the most popular ones are;

Simple Habit
Headspace
PauseAble
– Lucid

Other ways to aid you in your mindfulness quest would be to search your local community for some classes or if you’re not ready to take your mindfulness public? Try the masses of online content on YouTube or Udemy.

‘In a little over two decades’ mindfulness has gone from being a specialist element of Buddhist teaching to a must have app for celebrities and businesses use it reduce staff stress and boost productivity, it’s even prescribed by the NHS for anxiety and depression.’ Phil Pegum BBC 4 Radio 

As the NHS approaches winter and its seasonal mounting pressures, and with forecasters predicting these pressures to continue long beyond our cold weather, it’s important we use the tools available to us to bring mindfulness to the masses. This will have a positive effect on our health and thus decrease pressures on our NHS.