What is mindfulness and how is it linked to meditation? How can it affect our health and wellbeing? What impact can it make on our lives? These are questions that we have asked the experts...

Mindfulness is two things; to me it is common sense, looking at it practically, the ability to notice the occurrences of both the body and mind without getting carried away by imagination, is common sense to me. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t realise they have choice, so Mindfulness is also choice

Nikki Collins, Well Being Consultant Max Mindpower What is mindfulness?

For me, mindfulness is awareness. I believe that the key to life, the universe and everything is awareness. The more aware you can be of your thoughts, your feelings, your responses, your behaviours, the people around you, the world around you and your place in that world, the more you come to understand that you always have a choice in how you think, feel, respond and behave. Mindfulness is a key tool in raising that awareness and making those choices.

Jo Howarth, The Happiness Lady The Happiness Club What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness for me is something that helps me learn about myself every day. I am able to connect with my body, learn new sensations and uncover thought patterns I hadn’t realised were there. Mindfulness for me is an essential part of my wellbeing and I can no longer imagine life without it.
Josie Sensier, Group Development and Community Engagement Coordinator Manchester Psychological Wellbeing Service | Self Help What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness touches every aspect of my life, as I am constantly returning to my breath and my body in order to be present to the happiness in each moment that so often used to pass me by. Mindful Eating provides an especially enjoyable form of practice, as I have always loved food! Using my physical nourishment to see how complex my connections are to the world around me is a fascinating experience that I love to share with other people.

Mindfulness enables me to feel much more secure in the present, and therefore able to look at the past and the future from a calmer, more rational place. By looking deeply I am able to gain useful insights in order to react more constructively to the inevitable challenges of life, including my treatment for cancer, and subsequent cure, in 2015. In particular, the practice of mindful speaking and deep listening has helped me to communicate and engage more compassionately and effectively with myself and with those around me. This has brought greater peace and joy to my inner world and to my relationships than ever before, helping me to be less anxious, more relaxed and therefore able to enjoy life more.

Katie Sheen, Teacher, Speaker & Founder Soul Nutrition What is mindfulness to you?

A space to reconnect with myself, and a practice which impacts how I think and feel about myself and how I interact with the world around me. Enabling me to be more in tune and have deeper awareness.

Victoria Algar, Mental Health Clinical Locality Manager Manchester Psychological Wellbeing Service | Self Help Services What is Mindfulness to you?
To me, mindfulness is about living vibrantly. Whether I'm in bed with a cold or eating a wonderful meal, mindfulness allows me to there feeling and sensing it all, whilst doing my best not to want more or less of it.
Mark Westmoquette, Mindfulness & yoga teacher Zenways What is mindfulness to you?
To me, mindfulness is a practice that brings me closer to what matters most – the mountains where I live in Wales – my grandchildren – the world, people and all the happenings around me that offer joy and also concern. Without an investment in a mindfulness practice, I am more reactive and life seems more grey. With it, my experience is more spacious, alive. I can be more patient and kindly – to myself and to others.  
Trish Bartley, Mindfulness Teacher Trainer Centre for Mindfulness, Research and Practice, Bangor University What is mindfulness to you?
For me, mindfulness is a way of life. It informs my experience of the present moment, my relationships, my work, my art, my dreams and goals. In a world of change, mindfulness keeps me centred, calm, and focused on what is real and true.
Neil Seligman, Founder The Conscious Professional What is mindfulness to you?

The definition of mindfulness I have settled on, after much investigation and deliberation, is as follows. Mindfulness is a special type of awareness. It is awareness that you super charge with three qualities; full presence, a commitment to non reactivity and, to the best of our ability, a non judgemental stance.

I also like a phrase from Jesuit theologian Walter Burghardt  “a long loving of the real”.

Tamara Russell, Mindfulness Trainer & Innovator Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, London What is mindfulness to you?

For me, mindfulness is about kindness to others, discovering what really matters to us, getting less caught up in the past and future and enjoying and appreciating what we already have. 

Andy Hobson, Meditation Teacher Mindfulness For All What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness is a quality of the heart and mind that enables us to be fully present to the experiences and events of our lives with curiosity, compassion, and courage, so that we can respond appropriately and non-reactively.

Jenny Wilks, Insight Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher Gaia House Retreat Centre & Exeter University What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness has become a way of life, it informs my choices and behaviour and has got me through some very challenging times. At first practice can feel like a chore but as soon as one sees benefits it becomes a key part of self care. I  really believe that learning mindfulness and practicing can help us get the most out of our lives.

Jo Bentley, Mindfulness Teacher & Trainer Mindful Outlook What is mindfulness to you?

Whilst mindfulness has many benefits, it can provide insight into the nature of the mind, or rather ‘nature’s mind’: the patterning of our thoughts and experiences by our evolved emotions and motivations.

Tobyn Bell, Therapist, Trainer & Author Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust & Compassionate Mind Foundation What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness to me is coming into my own ‘core’ being, so that i can appreciate what is happening in and around me from a wider less ego centred perspective.

Annabelle Apsion, Embodied Awareness - Bodywork Teacher and Co Founder of Rosen Method Therapy and Training in the UK Rosen Method Therapy and Training Ltd What is mindfulness to you?

The practice of being in the present moment. Of being aware of what you are doing, while you are doing it.

Sita Brand, Story & Mindfulness Coach & Trainer Settle Stories What is mindfulness to you?

To me mindfulness is paying attention to life in the here and now, not thinking about the past or the future, but focusing on the present, without judgement.

Gabrielle Treanor, Writer, teacher & worry expert Gabrielle Treanor What is mindfulness to you?

To me, mindfulness is the certain knowledge, gained through experience, that the natural state of my mind is calm and happy. This state of mind is always available to be reached, no matter what storms are created by my thoughts and emotions.

Neil Hayes, Psychologist and Technologist Buddha Mind Limited What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness means many things to many people, and can be engaged with at a simple or more complex level.  In the workplace context I try to keep it simple.  Mindfulness training combines formal and informal practice exercises combined with psychological education.  The exercises combined with the education help people to observe patterns of thinking and behaviour that may longer be serving them well and develop and embed the ability to manage themselves better as a result.

Juliet Adams, Mindfulness at work author, teacher, coach and mentor A Head for Work What is mindfulness to you?

Getting out of my head and into the present.

Suzy Glaskie, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach Peppermint Wellness What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness to me is consciously cultivating my way of being in the world that means I feel more resilient, connected and happier in my own skin. It’s become more of a way of life than just a series of practices.

Markus Greenwood, CEO and Mindfulness Lead Mind in Salford What is mindfulness to you?

The possibility of stillness, peace and calm in the midst of whatever else is going on.  The opportunity to take a step back and choose to respond mindfully rather than react in a habitual way that may not be entirely helpful.  The stillness to quietly become aware and observe our own patterns of behaviour and the opportunity to press the reset button and come back home to your self whenever you need to.

Suzanne Farrell, Mindfulness Teacher & Coordinator Mind in Salford What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness is about being alive and knowing it. It's about cultivating the resources to manage what is difficult in life whilst savouring what is good. 

Richard Burnett, Founder Mindfulness in School's Project What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness is, for me, a new term to describe a lifelong practise of stepping out of what you think is happening into what actually IS happening. Or trying to. I think it’s a key to being prepared to play with life.

David Pearl, Business innovator, Author, Founder Street Wisdom What is Mindfulness to you?

It is being connected to your true self in the moment.

Dominique Antiglio, Sophrologist, Author, Mum BeSophro & The Sophrology Network What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness is about surrendering to the NOW. Accepting our thoughts and feelings just as they are. Finding space within and feeling at peace.

Kate Forrester, Sophrologist and Creativity Coach The Happy and Creative Life & The Sophrology Network What is mindfulness to you?

Mindfulness’ essence for me is listening to myself: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Lise McNamara, Occupational Therapist, Kinesiologist, Well-Being & Working Environment Facilitator McNamara Focus representing Kinesiology Federation What is mindfulness to you?

Over the years, I've written many definitions of mindfulness but I like this one as it touches on some of the key concepts [in caps.] and it includes the awareness of how precious it is to simply be alive in the moment.

Mindfulness meditation is a way of deepening AWARENESS through PAYING ATTENTION with CURIOSITY and KINDNESS, in a NON-JUDGEMENTAL way, to whatever arises in the PRESENT moment.

It is WAKING up to living in the preciousness of each moment - the only moment we are truly alive!

Erica Rayner-Horn, Psychotherapist, Mindfulness Teacher, Speaker & Founder Awake & Alive Mindful Living Retreats – Mindful Therapy What is mindfulness to you?