Mind training via mindfulness meditation fosters well being across the life span

Mindfulness, an integrative mind-body based approach that helps people to change how they think and feel about their experiences can be useful to people at various stages and spheres of their lives. Adapted as Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), it can assist people coping with a range of difficulties.

As Rebecca Crane of Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice explains: “There is strong interest in the potential for individuals and for society to live in more compassionate ways, to live more fully in the lives we have rather than putting our energy into ideas of how things could be and to bring more kindness into how we are with ourselves and the world around us.”

Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research & Practice is involved in researching the facilitators and barriers to the use of mindfulness training in the NHS, as well as its effectiveness in other settings.

Rebecca Crane says: “Although MBCT has been recommended by NICE since 2004, its availability within the NHS is limited and entirely dependent on where in the UK you live.  Among our current research, we are investigating the potential of mindfulness training offered within the NHS for people with cancer and their carers, to support them with the psychological challenges of living with cancer.”

Bangor University is now hosting an international scientific conference in Chester 22-26 March entitled ‘Mindfulness in Society’. Presentations at the conference show how mindfulness is being taught and researched in a wide variety of societal contexts.

Chris Ruane, MP for Vale of Clwyd is interested in the use of Mindfulness. He said: “Recent Parliamentary Questions I have put down in Parliament show that the number of prescriptions issued for anti-depression has shot from 9 million in 1991 to 47 million in 2011, and that 32.3% of young people between 16 and 25 suffer from one or more psychiatric conditions. There are truly horrendous statistics. Mindfulness has been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in 2004. It has no side effects, it puts the individual in control and it is a cheaper treatment than anti-depressants; yet only 5% of GPs refer patients for this treatment. I hope this conference will raise the issue of the potential of mindfulness for those who suffer with mental illness and as a way of flourishing for the population as a whole.”

Publication date: 25 March 2013