So what do I need to know about mindfulness?

by Jean Ramsey

I had been aware of MIndfulness for a long time. But I did not begin my journey until March 2017 when I attended Hugh Poulton’s 8 week mindfulness course. It was a revelation and continues to  help me cope with all that life can throw at me; I feel there is something missing if I have to miss my early morning practice.

I am always keen to share my learnings so I have been incorporating mindfulness techniques with my coaching clients at school. They have made great strides with their anxiety as a result.

So, I was quite taken aback when I read Willem Kuyken’s interview in TES magazine August 2017 written by Helen Amass.  I had been so fired up about using it with my students I was quite crestfallen!

However, once I read more carefully I was relieved to see that the main thrust of his interview was that teachers are right to be sceptical  and see it as ‘wishy washy’ at the moment. This is because there is not YET a body of research which can answer questions such as: Does it work? How does it work? How can it best be implemented in schools?

Kuyken says there have been 20 studies of mindfulness in schools to date  but none on the scale of the research he is conducting with funding by the Wellcome Trust.

The two feasibility studies showed teaching mindfulness had positive effects on young people’s mental health and well being, particularly with exam stress. This is definitely good news!

What I found so encouraging was his belief that it is a natural capacity that we all have.

‘Mindfulness is a capacity to pay attention and pay attention in a particular way, with attitudes of curiosity, care and friendliness.’

I have registered an interest with the Myriad website and look forward to them publishing their results in 2020.