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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the art of staying in the moment.

Accepting what is. 

Because it is already here.

Many of us spend much of our time focused either on the past or on the future, paying very little attention to what is happening in the present, this means that for much of the time we may be unaware of much of our experience. Mindfulness is the practise of staying in the moment, spending more time present to ourselves, and our surroundings. Not trying to change things but trying instead to accept the way that things are for better or for worse. 

Isn’t Mindfulness just another relaxation technique?

No, mindfulness is not about learning to relax, it is a way of being, of remaining present, and practising the art of observation. Much of the observation is focused on the breath, observing your breathing without trying to change it.

Where does Mindfulness originate?

Mindfulness is based on Buddhist philosophy, however it is not a religion, neither is any religious belief necessary to its practise. Mindfulness was initially developed by Jon KabatZinn (see recommended reading) to assist him in his work with people suffering from a wide range of medical problems, ranging from chronic pain to cancer and heart disease. The research carried out by him showed that most people experienced benefit from the programme, and were likely to continue with their practise in some form after the course ended. Research demonstrated that their overall quality of life, and for those with terminal illness their chance of remaining in remission was significantly improved (see references) 



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What do you actually do?


Jon KabatZinn developed an eight week course of mindfulness instruction involving meditation, some simple yoga and stretching, and some discussion within a group setting of the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy. The aim of the programme being to introduce participants to regular mindfulness practise, initially using audio tapes, and group contact time to guide them.

Is it useful for people with mental health problems?

Jon KabatZinn’s Mindfulness programme has since been used with people suffering mental health problems. Research using Mindfulness based C.B.T. has been conducted here in Bangor by Professor Mark Williams et al (2002), working with people experiencing depression. In particular Professor Williams research suggests that people with chronic depression are most likely to benefit from practising mindfulness meditation.Mindfulness practise is also a componentpart of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Linehan 1993), a recognised treatment for people suffering from borderline personality disorder.

Mindfulness is for anyone who wants to be fully aware, and improve their health and well being.

Mindfulness is not just useful for people with specific health problems, it can be used by anyone to improve their overall quality of life, and ability to live life to the full.


“Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.”

Nadine Stair, eighty five years old, Louisville Kentucky (1)

Other Mindfulness Pages

Mindfulness In Plain English

Ice Cream for the Soul

Get yer Mindfullness 'ere

Imscar Mindfulness Site


    1. Jon Kabat-Zinn(1995) “Wherever you go there you are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” Hyperion Books.
    2. Jon Kabat-Zinn (1990) “Full Catastrophe Living : Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness” Delacorte Pr.
    3. Segal Z V, Williams J M, and Teasdale J D (2002) “Mindfulness-Based Cognitive therapy for Depression” TheGuildford Press.
    4. LinehanM (1993) “Cognitive Behavioural Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder” The Guildford Press.
Page Created 8th August 2002