Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World

‘‘A coherent, compelling and common-sensical 8-week programme for anyone caring about his or her own health and sanity, especially in this increasingly fast-paced and, as they refer to it, frantic world.’’

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Based on the core principles of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Prof. Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, created this programme, tailored to make the course accessible and effective for busy people. Weekly sessions and daily home practice requirements are shorter and may be considered less intensive to the MBSR programme.

Upon completion of this programme, participants often choose to deepen their mindfulness learning by continuing with the MBSR programme or taking retreats.

About the Course

This 8 session course was designed to be accessible and effective for busy staff in a workplace. Prof. Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Oxford Mindfulness Centre, drew on practices and teachings from the core programmes of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and created a format for anyone wishing to learn the foundations of mindfulness.

Benefits of taking the course may include developing awareness of our present moment experience, finding ways to feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled, to get on better with others, to work more effectively and to increase resilience in the face of stress and difficulties. The course is focused on supporting adults in developing their own practice of mindfulness in everyday life.  Many participants may find taking the course impacts on both their personal and professional ways of being. 

Practical Mindfulness Lessons

Mindfulness is best learned in a highly practical way. Over the 8 sessions, we practice learning to direct our attention in a deliberate and friendly way to whatever is actually happening in our present moment.  Whether that is the breath, sensations of the body, thoughts and feelings or everyday activities such as walking, eating, listening and speaking. At first we may become aware of how frequently the mind wanders away from our chosen focus of attention, but with practice we learn to direct our attention more skilfully and kindly. This can help us to break the hold of unhelpful habits of behaviour, thoughts and emotions and impulses that arise from these.  With practice we can learn to choose how we respond to all aspects of life, pleasant and unpleasant, with care and interest. As with all new skills, it takes practice and some effort to make time for exploring our experience in this new way. 

Sessions

Session 1

Waking up
to the autopilot

The course starts with waking up to the human tendency to operate on automatic pilot. We practice paying attention in new ways and becoming aware of what happens when we step out of automatic mode.

Session 2

Bringing curiosity to experience

In this session we learn about the evolution of the mind and explore how the body can be an anchor to the present and a radar for important messages.

Session 3

Mindfulness
in daily life

Mindfulness can be practised throughout the day in our everyday activities and helps us to build flexibility and transform the ordinary to extraordinary.

Session 4

Moving beyond the rumour mill

In this session, we practice seeing thoughts as creations of the mind rather than facts. We learn how we can see more clearly, recognise habits of mind and how they powerfully influence mood and behaviour.

Session 5

Exploring difficulty,
building resilience

This session builds on the first four with the invitation to turn towards and befriend aspects of our experience that we may typically avoid and resist. When we practice in this way, we build resilience.

Session 6

 Kindness to ourselves
and others

Being with others can be wonderful and challenging! In this session we bring our mindful awareness to habitual patterns of relating to others and open up to alternative ways to flourish.

Session 7

Developing balance
in our lives

In this session we reflect on how we can choose what we do and how we act to nourish ourselves everyday. 

Session 8

Mindfulness & the rest
of your life?

We celebrate completing this course and we reflect on what we are taking from the course and how mindfulness may fit in the rest of our lives. Life is the curriculum! 

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