Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: of our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This allows us to clearly perceive thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur without reacting in an automatic or habitual way.
By developing a new relationship with the conditions we find ourselves in we begin to respond creatively. Experiences don't overwhelm us and we can remain steady through life's ups and downs.
Mindfulness isn't a cool and detached awareness though - it's warm, gentle, and kind. Towards the end of the course we'll introduce a kindness meditation, which will help you to develop this aspect of mindfulness further. Like mindfulness, kindness has been proven to reduce levels of stress.
During the course we will be engaging in various activities to foster mindfulness and kindness. These include formal meditation practices, as well as small things we can do in the midst of our daily lives, such as doing a routine task mindfully, taking a break, slowing down a little. In particular we'll be using the body sensations and the breath to help develop awareness. The aim of meditation is not to prevent the mind wandering off - which it will do, repeatedly - but to get into the habit of learning to check in with our experience so we have choices in how we respond.
The formal meditation aspect of the course is focused practice at learning to check in, and the informal mindful activities are ways to extend that learning into our daily lives. We need both. During the course you are encouraged to try out all the different practices fully, so that at the end of the course you can decide which practices work best for you.