What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of getting in touch with what is happening for us right now. It isn't about "clearing your mind" or "getting rid of thoughts" - it's more about noticing (or being mindful of) what's going on around you and within your body. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, which can fit into your day-to-day life. You will probably find that you prefer some styles of mindfulness to others. This is completely normal. It's fine to focus on the ones that work for you.

How Can Mindfulness Help?

Our modern lifestyle is often focused on being “busy, busy, busy”, and we can often find ourselves dwelling on things that have happened in the past, or worrying about things that might happen in the future. Persistent Symptoms like pain or fatigue can be overwhelming, and can make it difficult to concentrate on other things.

Mindfulness can allow us to "take a step back" and focus on the here and now, by noticing what is going on around us or inside our bodies. Practicing mindfulness can be a bit like hitting the pause button, giving us chance to re-connect with what's important to us, rather than getting carried away with our thoughts and worries.

"Mindfulness Is Too Hard"

People often find mindfulness difficult at first. It does take practice. When you are practising mindfulness, thoughts will keep popping into your head and you are likely to find that your mind wanders onto different topics. This is natural and normal. Minds are made to wander. Mindfulness is not about getting rid of thoughts or trying to change them. It is just about noticing what you are experiencing. Each time you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring it back and refocus.

Like any other new skill, mindfulness will seem difficult to begin with. With practice, it will become easier.

How Do I Use Mindfulness?

These mindfulness exercises accompany our Living Well with Persistent Physical Symptoms Group Programme, though you may find them useful even if you have not attended a group. They are arranged to the right in the order that they appear in the programme.

There are eight exercises altogether, and we suggest trying a few different ones to see which ones work best for you. It's best to try the exercises one at a time, in a place where you feel safe and comfortable, and won't be interrupted. Some of the exercises are as short as 3 minutes, whilst the longer ones are up to 15 minutes.

Each exercise is available for you to listen to online, as an MP3 download which you can use on your phone, computer or other device. They can also be downloaded as a script to read through if you prefer.

To save the MP3 files, you will need to click on the link of the exercise you wish to download, and then right-click and choose 'Save As' to save to your computer or other device.