Provides information on mindfulness, how to practice it and how it can help with mental health problems.
Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.
It aims to help you:
Many people find practising mindfulness helps them manage their day-to-day wellbeing, but it doesn't always work for everyone (see our page on is mindfulness right for me?)
"Mindfulness is a skill. It requires work like any therapy and practice like any skill. It isn’t a shortcut and courses only set the scene, but I find it enjoyable and rewarding. Most of all I find it brings some peace into my life."
Watch Rebecca, a mindfulness teacher, explain her understanding of mindfulness:
The way we think (and what we think about) can affect how we feel and act. For example, if you think or worry a lot about upsetting past or future events, you might often feel sad or anxious.
The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various techniques to bring your attention to the present (usually focusing on your body and your breathing), you can:
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre has more information about how mindfulness works.
"When I feel anxiety building, mindfulness helps me to keep calm by becoming more in touch with the situation."
"Mindfulness does help me with my mental health issues. It's not the cure and it won't work every single time, but it has helped me to alleviate anxiety and depression by centring my thoughts."
This information was published in June 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.