I first experienced mindfulness when I did an 8 week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course through City and Hackney Mind. Having read about the benefits of mindfulness for all sorts of people, it seemed like an opportunity worth seizing. I enjoyed the first few sessions a lot. The people in the group were there for all sorts of different reasons and I felt as though I was learning new things from the very first session. I didn't stop talking about it when I got home, which is usually a pretty good sign!

Since doing the course, I've noticed that I'm much less likely to get caught up in worries about the future with thoughts spiralling away. I feel less irritable, but you might have to ask my nearest and dearest whether that's actually true! I find it easier to focus and make decisions under pressure and I think it might have improved my memory too.

Overall, I just feel happier and more at ease with myself. One of the things that I'd noticed over the years was that I used to wake up every morning feeling at best neutral and more often than not, feeling negative. Worrying about things I had to do or just feeling grumpy for no reason. Thanks to the course and trying to be more mindful, now I wake up and I'm much more likely to feel neutral or happy. Perhaps it doesn't sound like much, but for me, it's been transformative and I feel as though I've been given a real gift.

I was drawn to Mindfulness because I enjoy learning new things. Also, I thought it might also be useful in dealing with everyday stress and getting better sleep and it absolutely was.

The thing that most appeals to me about mindfulness is that it's a very simple concept, with incredible powerful benefits. And it's free, it's available to all of us, all of the time. You don't need any special equipment or prior knowledge or even a huge amount of time to become more aware of what's happening in the present moment.

To anyone considering trying mindfulness for the first time, I’d say if you're considering trying mindfulness, just go for it, give it a go. You have nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.



To find out about Mindfulness courses on offer for Hackney and the City residents, visit the City and Hackney Wellbeing Network website.

You can read more about the Take a Pause campaign here.