As we get to the end of every year we tend to have a period of reflection where we pause, take stock and assess the highlights and the lowlights of the previous year. In my final blog of 2015 then, I thought I’d cover what were a few of this year’s mindfulness highlights for me.
Since its first mental health awareness week in 2000, the Mental Health Foundation runs a week each year in which it generates public debate around mental health. This year, the focus of the week was mindfulness: The Mental Health Foundation published information on what it is, how it can help people and where to find out more. Having mindfulness as the focus of that week was great: while everyone needs their own strategies for managing mental health and there is ‘no one size fits all’, widening the number of people who are aware of what mindfulness is, and how it might be able to help, is a good thing in my view.
The mindfulness summit put on by Melli O’Brien and Matt Dickenson in October was a not for profit initiative which presented an online mindfulness session or interview each day during October and featured some of the leading experts and teachers from across the globe. The concept was simple, but the result was so powerful – I looked forward to tuning in each day as the dark nights drew in, having the space to enjoy the teachings of some pretty inspiring and insightful people, and knowing that thousands of people across the internet were doing the same. If you missed it, don’t despair(!), you can still download it at https://themindfulnesssummit.com
Last but by no means least, was the publication at the end of October 2015 of the Mindful Nation UK Report, the culmination of research and findings by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group. The Report looked at the use of mindfulness in the UK in 4 key areas: health, education, the workplace and the criminal justice system. It assessed not only current practice and the evidence behind potential benefits of mindfulness in those 4 areas, but made solid and realistic recommendations in terms of expanding its reach within the UK – if the recommendations are implemented, the results could be substantial.
I think what draws all of these highlights together for me is the fact that they all had the intention of extending the reach of people who are aware of mindfulness and its potential benefits. I find that reassuring, and look forward to what that could come of 2016, in terms of individuals discovering mindfulness, and its benefits trickling out into the wider landscape of our work and lives here in the UK more generally.
So there we have it – my list of mindfulness highlights from 2015. It would be great to hear what some of yours were too…