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Mindfulness is happiness

A wonderful interview with Professor Mark Williams has just appeared in South Africa’s WealthWise Magazine. You can read it on their website here.

In the interview Mark explains that Mindfulness is, at its core, simply observation without criticism. It is seeing the world as it is, not how you want it to be, or through the distorting lens of your emotions.

Mark says: “The methods used to cultivate mindfulness were first recorded over two thousand years ago. It has long been central to wisdom traditions in Asia, particularly the Buddhist tradition, but the art of cultivating inner silence has been a central part of all religious traditions across the ages.

“Mindfulness meditation is a secular form of this tradition that anyone can learn. It trains us to pay deliberate attention to our experience, both external and internal. We learn to focus on what is happening from moment to moment with full intention and without judgment. Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through such training, and the skill of developing and sustaining that awareness.

“In the UK, the NHS’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as a cost-effective treatment for preventing relapse in depression.

“Other research has found that MBCT reduces anxiety in people suffering from General Anxiety and Bipolar Disorders, and can help enhance the quality of life and reduce the stress in those with a diagnosis of cancer.”

Mark also makes the important point that Mindfulness training doesn’t just help with clinical level anxiety, stress and depression but with the normal problems that we all face on a daily basis.

Mark says: “The remarkable thing about mindfulness training is that the very same practices that help to release us from negative emotions also enhance positive emotions and well-being.  This is because mindfulness teaches us to be less ‘in our heads’ and more in our bodies and present to what is happening around us.  We become more aware of the sights, sounds, and tastes that we normally take for granted, so there comes a sense of reconnecting with life, and reclaiming a way of living that expresses our deepest values, rather than postponing peace and happiness for another day.”

Our book: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World is available from bookshops nationwide (and from Amazon, of course). It will be published in the USA in October by Rodale with the title: Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan For Finding Peace in a Frantic World.

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