What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, without judgement. Most of us spend a lot of time either going over the past or thinking about the future, or we do things on ‘automatic pilot’ where our attention is elsewhere. Of course, we need to process the past and plan for the future, but we tend to forget how to be present and focus on our experience of the present moment. Mindfulness is also about letting go of harsh judgements and accepting the reality of each moment, which puts us in a more powerful position to change the things we are able to. 

 

Why practice mindfulness? 

Mindfulness has many benefits, including reducing stress and all the related benefits that can bring to our physical and mental health. It can also help to relieve pain, help us to make healthier choices, enhance our experiences and joy in life and improve our relationship with ourselves and others.  

 

How do I practice mindfulness? 

You can bring your full awareness to anything you’re doing – washing up, having a shower, eating a meal by just focusing on your senses and allowing them to bring you back to the present moment when your mind wanders (it always will!). You can also practice a more formal mindfulness meditation by sitting quietly and comfortably, closing your eyes or lowering your gaze and allowing your awareness to rest on the rhythm of your breathing, noticing any distractions before letting them go as best you can. Focusing on the breathing is a handy tool in mindfulness, as it is always with you and you can practice it anywhere, but some people prefer to focus on different parts of their body or on listening to the sounds around them. The most important aspect of practice is bringing a sense of non-judgemental, gentle curiosity to whatever you choose to focus on.

 

Katy Connell, Mindfulness and Relaxation Coach, runs regular Mindfulness workshops here at Stuart Low Trust as part of our Wellbeing Programme. Whilst Covid-19 prevents us from running face-to-face activities at present, Katy has created a Mindfulness Teaching and Practice playlist.

Discover more of her Mindfulness videos here:

Mindfulness for Beginners    Mindfulness in Depth

To find out more about Mindfulness at SLT email [email protected] or ring 0207 713 9304.

A participant said, "I have only the very highest praise for SLT and Katy. SLT improves lives by providing opportunities to creatively 'share time'.   Katy's work feeds into this brilliantly. She is a warm, calm and caring person, deeply committed to the work, with a lovely light, humorous touch. Sessions  have been consistently well thought-out, with new angles to the discussions and exercises."

A Gift of Mindfulness DVD

A painting of calm: a field of flowers and blue skies. By Cady.

In December 2020, SLT created a 'Gift of Mindfulness' DVD, with videos by Katy and artwork courtesy of Cady, one of SLT's volunteers.  This was posted to every participant on SLT's mailing list, as many have little or no online access.

Participants have told SLT how much receiving the DVD meant to them,

 "That Mindfulness DVD from Stuart Low Trust is really helpful and really calmed me down".

 "I just thought wow what a well thought out Christmas present from SLT. I’m touched because it’s really spot on. It was lovely to hear from you in such a lovely and surprising way"

 “ It's really made me smile to know SLT thought of me this Xmas, and has kept the newsletters coming and workshops going - what a year.  Thanks again.”

As of January 2021, SLT has some spare copies of the DVD. If you are a new participant and would like to receive a free copy, please do email us at [email protected].