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Mindfulness practices include focusing on the breath and body through meditation , movement and the development of a more mindfulness attention to everyday activities . All of these approaches help us learn to recognise the feelings and patterns of thinking that cause suffering , so that we can respond in ways that cultivate wellbeing and happiness. Many people find they need the support of a guided CD when starting out.

Mindfulness practices are deceptively simple, but the clue is in the word ‘practice’. Though the techniques are easy to learn and can be done anywhere , long term positive benefits require gentle patience , perseverance and regular practice.

Although we’ve all heard of meditation , many don’t really know what it is and are a little bit hesitant to try it ourselves. Before we describe the practices, , we would like to take this opportunity to dispel a few myths:

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** Although meditation is rooted in the Buddhist tradition , it is not a religion . In fact, the practices can be traced back to many different contemplative traditions. It is a form of mental training that can be done by anyone, regardless of whether they follow a religion , or are athiest or agnostic. It is beneficial to people of any age and background.

** You don’t have to sit in the lotus position on the floor (unless you really want to).

** Meditation is not complicated . It is also not about ‘success or failure’ . Even when it feels hard , such as if you become sleepy you can still learn something important about how your mind , senses and body work that will benefit you psychollogically . In fact , some of the best learning may come from these struggles if we can stay open and present to what happen within us.

** Meditation does not have to take a lot of time, although persistence , patience and practice are needed. In fact, some of practices we will suggest only take three minutes.

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** Meditation will not deaden your mind, nor turn you into a zombie who has cut off from your thoughts and feelings. Instead, it gives you a way to pay attention to your senses, mind and heart as they are in the present moment, so that you can make wiser choices based on a deep understanding about what is right for you.

** Mindfulness is not ‘new age’ or alternative. It is quite ordinary, simply learning about how we think, what we feel and what happens in our bodies, to help us to respond more skilfully to stress, enjoy greater wellbeing and maybe even lead better lives.


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