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What is Mindfulness? 
Mindfulness has been defined as a process of “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally”. (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994, Professor of Emeritus, founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Mindfulness has been described as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment”. (Prof Mark Williams, 2007,Wellcome Principal Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre)
Mindfulness begins when we recognize our tendency to be on automatic pilot. Practice helps us to learn how to step out of the automatic pilot mode and become aware of each moment. This in turn offers a way of staying present; allowing us to understand a wider perspective of our body, feelings, mind and situation. Many report that as they practice mindfulness, they notice relating differently to their experience in a way that brings about deeper well-being and better outcomes.]
Why do people learn Mindfulness?
We often think about the past, worry about the future, and judge what is not ideal in the present. This can create much frustration in our lives as if we do not have a choice.
If left to the extreme these develop further to become more chronic mental and physical health issues. With the mind and body closely connected, it is not surprising for the body to show symptoms of this imbalance, such as tension in our backs and necks, difficulties in sleeping, changes in mood.
Rather than merely going through the motion of life like a ‘machine’ on automatic pilot, mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to your life, to be ‘alive’ as the moments of your life is unfolding.
Cultivating mindfulness practice can improve your physical and emotional health and increase your appreciation of life. You become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations. It is a practice that improves physical and emotional health. With mindfulness, you remain alert and help you respond appropriately to situations. In this way, it enhances creativity and productivity.

Can everyone learn and practice Mindfulness?
Yes, mindfulness can be developed through practice. One experiences mindfulness through practicing and maintaining motivation with an attitude of curiosity. This no one can do for another. Just showing up for mindfulness training is a starting point; you can do this individually or in a group.
The effort is taking the time to practice no matter how short duration is, the benefits are effortless in that they are by-products of the practicing. It is like taking the effort to plant a seed, and practicing is like watering the plant, the growth of the plant happens naturally, and when you get the fruits that too is a natural process.
What are some of the benefits associated with practicing Mindfulness?
Relative to the many problems caused by mindlessly living our lives, practicing mindfulness helps us to:
1. deepen our awareness and train us to be more noticing of what goes on in our mind, our body, and the environment, and the interaction between these
2. improve focus and concentration
3. decrease levels of stress
4. increase ability to cope with what may be difficult physically or emotionally
5. increase overall well-being and balance
6. be kind to yourself instead of wishing things were different all the time
7. increase willingness for experience rather than being judgmental
8. notice small beauties and pleasures in the world around us instead of merely living in our head
What does the scientific research show?
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre was founded in 2007 to realize the potential of mindfulness- based approaches in mental and physical health and to promote the well-being of people in their world of work, home and family life. Its aim is to be an international centre of excellence that can also meet local need, and to extend our understand of the relevance of mindfulness through research, training and providing classes for NHS patients. With independent charitable status (Registered Charity No: 11-4059), it is a centre within the University’s Department of Psychiatry, and works closely with the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trust). For more information, go to
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