Happiness: can mindfulness help?

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.

Couple of female friends in their forties connecting and staying healthy by practicing yoga iMy 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. (It’s not a religion).

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.

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

Deborah Garlick

About Deborah Garlick

I'm the founder of Henpicked. I love reading the wonderful stories and articles women send us - I read every one. I've learnt so much and hope others enjoy them too. I believe life's about being happy and that we're here to help one another. And that women are far wiser than they often realise, so let's stop putting ourselves down.

  • I love mindfulness and aim to practice it at our Escape Retreat in Morocco. As in encourage people to join me and just allow their mind to enjoy the ‘now’. I was a crazy rush around person but now I do try to stop and ‘smell the coffee’. It does not come naturally but even if we do it for a few moments a day it makes a difference. Read the ‘Power of Now’ – sorry forgot the author, recently and trying to incorporate some of the tips into my life.

  • Deborah

    Agree Diane. It only takes a few minutes but done regularly makes the world of difference. The audio helps me and I can imagine Morocco would be a wonderful place to ‘enjoy the now’!

  • I have the Jon Kabat Zinn book, the best I have for this subject.

  • Thank you for your recommendation Dawn! Will look at that one!

  • There’s a website here with FREE resources: http://www.freemindfulness.org/download