Mindfulness in mental health and prison settings
Mindfulness in mental health and prison settings

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Mindfulness in mental health and prison settings

1 Mindfulness

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Figure 2 Mindfulness

You may already have some ideas about what mindfulness is, given that it has become quite a buzzword in recent years. Before you go any further, watch this video created by The Open University about what mindfulness is and why we should care about it.

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Transcript: Five reasons to care about mindfulness

[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR
Five reasons why you should care about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment, whilst at the same time accepting your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. But why does mindfulness matter?
One: People have been doing mindfulness for centuries. Mindfulness is based on principles originating in Buddhist practises, amongst other things, and is often achieved through yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques. However, mindfulness is now recognised as something that can be of benefit, regardless of whether or not you have spiritual or religious beliefs. One way in which we can practise mindfulness is by setting aside time to sit silently and pay attention to the sensations of our breathing.
Two: Mindfulness can help you manage pain. The human condition includes pain. But the mind and body don't have to instinctively react to painful experiences. Mindfulness is a skill that allows us to be at least unthinkingly responsive to what is happening in the present so that our overall suffering might be reduced and our sense of well-being improved.
Three: Most of us can get really stuck in autopilot. We're usually caught up in unhelpful patterns of thinking and can end up operating on autopilot. This is mindlessness. For instance, during meal times, most of us eat too quickly to think about what we're consuming or reflect upon the experience of devouring our food. We might want to consider switching off the television or computer during meal times and really savouring the flavours of the food we eat and being alert to the experience.
Four: Many people are already benefiting from mindfulness in the United Kingdom and abroad. The Mental Health Foundation considers mindfulness as something that has real benefit. Mindfulness has become increasingly cited in the research.
Back in 1970, about two dozen articles were published related to mindfulness. By 2016, there were nearly 200,000 articles. As with any practise, it may not work for everyone, but there is increasing interest in its beneficial effects.
Five: We can all take time to stop and smell the roses. It's very easy to unintentionally enter a state of mindlessness, that means we overlook the things that might be really important to us. Hence, we all need to remind ourselves about the value of mindfulness. So the next time you take a stroll outdoors, notice how the plants and the trees change with the seasons, how the smells meet your nose, or how the temperature feels on your skin. Really appreciate being part of that particular moment.
End transcript: Five reasons to care about mindfulness
Five reasons to care about mindfulness
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From the video, you will have learned that mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. It is something that we can practise in meditation in order to bring that quality more into our everyday lives, and that can help us with emotionally and physically painful experiences. The next section will allow you to experience mindfulness for yourself.

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