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Mindfulness

Provides information on mindfulness, how to practise it and how it can help with mental health problems.

This page is also available in Welsh.

Is mindfulness right for me?

Although anyone can try it, being mindful isn't always easy to do. It can take practice, and might not be right for everyone. There is a lot of information available about mindfulness, which can feel overwhelming or confusing.

This page covers:

Practical considerations

When thinking about whether mindfulness is right for you, there are some practical considerations. It might help to think about the following before you try it out:

  • How do I want to learn mindfulness? There are lots of ways to learn mindfulness, and they won't all suit everyone. For more information about your options, see our page on how and where to learn mindfulness.
  • How much will it cost? Many everyday mindfulness exercises are free to do, but formal courses, apps and learning materials may cost money.
  • Can I fit this practice into my life? It is helpful to practise mindfulness regularly. Think about what times might work best for you. If you're attending a mindfulness course, you might also have to travel to weekly sessions, which can be demanding.

Wellbeing considerations

For your physical and mental health, it might help to think about the following before trying mindfulness:

  • Are the exercises safe for me to do? Some may involve sitting still for long periods of time and focusing on your breath, which might not be suitable for everyone. For example, if you have mobility issues or breathing problems. Talk to your GP or a trained mindfulness teacher if you have any concerns.
  • Am I prepared to acknowledge my difficult thoughts? This can sometimes be distressing and could make you feel worse at first. If you find the exercises hard to do, then it's best to get advice from a trained professional.
  • Is mindfulness the right tool for my problems? Mindfulness tends to be quite a general wellbeing tool. If you want to work on a specific issue, you might find a more focused treatment helps more. You might however find it useful to try mindfulness while waiting to receive another treatment.
  • Am I well enough to start something new right now? If you're feeling very unwell, trying to learn a new skill might feel overwhelming. You might need more treatment and support in place before you can begin.

"Sometimes mindfulness puts me in touch with feelings I've been pushing away. In the long term that's better but at the time it can be really distressing."

What if mindfulness doesn’t work for me?

Although some people find mindfulness helpful, not everyone does. Mindfulness might not be the best option for you. Or it might help you at some times and not others. If you've tried something and it hasn't helped, it's important not to blame yourself.

Looking after your mental health can be really difficult, especially when you're not feeling well. It can take time and may not be straightforward. But many people find that with the right combination of treatments, self-care and support, it is possible to feel better.

For other options you can explore, see our pages on looking after your wellbeing and seeking help for a mental health problem.

"When I'm in a particularly unwell state mindfulness is not beneficial, as I cannot bring myself into the present at all."

This information was published in November 2021. We will revise it in 2024.

References and bibliography available on request.

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