Welcome to Simply Mindfulness
“Combining cognitive behavioural therapy with meditation techniques in an approach called ‘mindfulness therapy’ can help anyone who leads a frantic life”
Prof Mark Williams of Oxford University
quoted in ‘You Magazine’ March 2011
Mindfulness is everywhere these days. Typing mindfulness into Google gives literally millions of hits. Mindfulness has caught on in this way for good reason. There is solid and robust evidence that mindfulness, as taught in structured 8-week groups by trained practitioners, can bring a wide range of physical and psychological benefits, supporting our wellbeing, enhancing our relationships, and increasing our ability to cope with the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Put simply, mindfulness can help us be more present, live more fully, and with greater awareness, balance and peace of mind. This is really useful for those of us who live busy and fulfilling lives, but who sometimes get the feeling we are not present enough to fully savor our experiences. We might objectively see that our lives are good but still have a sense that something is not quite right.
Others may have more direct and acute experiences of distress such as anxiety, recurrent depression, or the effects of chronic pain or long-term health conditions. Mindfulness has been shown to be clinically effective for many of these conditions and as a testament to this effectiveness, it has been recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for recurrent episodes of clinical depression. This is unusual for an approach that might once have been considered ‘alternative’.
So mindfulness can be beneficial for our wellbeing, whether we are struggling with serious mental health issues or whether we want to be more present, and simply enjoy our lives as they are unfolding, minute by minute.
Please explore these pages to find a course that suits you and your situation.
Sharing Access to Mindfulness
I am committed to increasing accessibility to mindfulness for those who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience it. This may be due to financial circumstances, insecure housing, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use or disability. It may simply be the experience of not feeling comfortable in classes that have not historically represented your ethnic group, age, economic situation, or gender preferences.
I hope to redress some of these imbalances as far as I am able, by making mindfulness financially accessible to those who may not previously have been able to afford it and by taking mindfulness into communities and services, where it may have not previously been available. This is an ongoing process and I welcome suggestions and ideas about how I can keep working on improving accessibility. In the meantime please see The Share Mindfulness Project for more details on how I have begun to address these issues.
What is mindfulness
and how does it help?
In the words of Jon Kabat Zinn, Mindfulness is “the awareness that arises through paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”.
Mindfulness is a natural state of mind and one that we might find ourselves in from time to time when we are really absorbed in something that we love doing. We can see it in a young child's fascination with an insect or jumping in a muddy puddle. Many of us get out of the habit over our busy lives, of allowing this natural curiosity to flourish, and forget this ability to just ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. The good news is that this innate quality of mindful attention can be cultivated with mindfulness practice.
During meditation we may bring attention to our breath, our thoughts, our body sensations, sounds, our emotions or our urges in this process. Alongside this awareness, we might gently start to practice an acceptance of our experience just as it is. This is not to say things within our experience are as we would want them to be, but noticing what is already here can give us a starting point, a place to stand, and a platform from which to move forwards. This acceptance of our experience, means we don’t need to be constantly changing the way we feel, sometimes with behaviors that don’t serve us, such as substances, using food as comfort, obsessive exercise or busyness.
Changing our relationship to our experience can help to steady us during difficult times, as well as enabling us to be more present and aware for the good times.
What Mindfulness isn’t
Mindfulness is not relaxation (although relaxation may be an indirect result of mindfulness practice).
It is not about reaching a ‘Zen’ like state or completely clearing our minds of thoughts.
It is not an easy or ‘quick fix’. Mindfulness meditation takes time and practice .
Mindfulness is not ‘therapy’. During mindfulness classes we might talk about our experiences in the present moment, rather than recounting stories from the past.
It is not ‘positive’ thinking. We don’t attempt to filter or change our thoughts but rather to become aware of them. During practice we notice all aspects of our experience, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral .
The following testimonials are provided by people who have attended courses with Simply Mindfulness:
"Exceptional teacher and course"
"I have slowed down and have become more accepting of life's ups and downs."
"On this course I learned that I can just be myself, sounds simple but something I had not previously been able to do."
"I have become more confident and now have extended periods of calm and happiness, which I didn't have before."
"The course has given me a new way of looking at my life. I have hope for the future and acceptance of the past."
"This course has been an invaluable, life saving part of my recovery." (MBRP)
"I have found this course far more useful for my recovery (from substances) than I ever thought possible." (MBRP)
'I have started to believe in myself again."
I am a trained mindfulness teacher and Registered Mental Health Nurse (RMN) with 25 years of experience working within the NHS and other mental health services in London, Australia, and Brighton. I am also the founder of Simply Mindfulness Brighton.
I have found mindfulness really helpful personally, and practicing daily mindfulness meditation has enhanced my quality of life and enabled me to find perspective and remain grounded, despite a very busy and sometimes stressful life.
I am passionate about bringing mindfulness to all, regardless of ability to pay, and am I involved in setting up the ‘Share Mindfulness Project’ bringing mindfulness to people with barriers to accessibility.
I trained to teach mindfulness at The Sussex Mindfulness Centre in Brighton, and am qualified to teach:
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR),
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT),
Mindfulness for Addictions (MBRP),
Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living (MBCL).
I regularly teach mindfulness in addiction services, NHS services, and the Recovery College and Recovery Centre in Brighton.
I have both an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in Medical Anthropology, and in the latter, I looked at how western medicine guides our understanding of psychological trauma in humanitarian situations and how this influences the appropriate provision of psychological services.
I receive regular and good quality supervision for the teaching that I do, and attend teaching sessions and lectures as part of my continuing professional development (CPD). I have an enhanced DBS certificate, and am registered with the UK Network for Mindfulness Based Teachers who meet professional guidelines.