Happiness: can mindfulness help?

Woman practicing mindfulness on a beach

I’ve learnt a great deal from working with many amazing people in my time. One particular woman, Yasmin, stood out for me because she always seemed so calm and collected. I know now that it’s due to mindfulness.

Woman practicing mindfulness on a beachMy own mind goes off like firecrackers, constantly juggling a thousand things. Reacting, responding – and sometimes overloaded. With all this going on, even when I ought to be enjoying myself, I’m usually thinking about something else.

After my colleague Yasmin and I left where we both worked, we met for coffee and I asked her secret. She told me about mindfulness – a passion of hers for a long time. She now teaches mindfulness to busy company executives and offered a taster session for a small group of Henpicked volunteers.

Here’s what we learnt

Mindfulness is a way of helping you to clear your mind and live in the moment. It teaches you to pay attention to what’s going on around you and inside you, and to understand how you respond.

There’s scientific evidence now that it can help with overall well-being and quality of life, managing stress and even pain. By practicing mindfulness, you can take control of how you think, feel and behave.

It’s a form of meditation.

You can practice for as little as 10 minutes at a time, but you do need to do it regularly to start appreciating its benefits. Like other practices, we get better at it if we keep it up. The techniques are easy and you can do it anywhere.

It won’t just change your life in one session, but even after our first go we felt more relaxed. The benefits are real. To make a permanent difference, you need to keep up the practice and we all felt so good, we said we would.

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But can you ‘switch on’ calm and happiness?

mindfulness CD

Try listening to this!

Did it work for me? Yes.

I went to the session feeling frazzled and felt calm afterwards.

I’ve kept it up, and it helps me clear my brain to sleep better at night. I used it to get into the zone for important events too.

The really big change is that I can now recognise when I’m not paying attention, and I know how to change that to be in the moment.

And when I practice, it really does work. I’m still a work in progress though, and I’m signing up for courses to help me stay disciplined.

Here’s what the BBC had to say about mindfulness.

BBC video about the affects of stress on the brain



mindfulness bbc 2