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Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword over the past 18 months, but what’s it all about?

In a nutshell mindfulness a very simple form of meditation that focuses your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body.

The conscious focusing on each breath allows you to observe your thoughts as they pop into your mind and, little by little, let go of them.

In time your thoughts come and go as if they are not your thoughts and you come to see that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and you have a choice about whether to act on them or not.

Mindfulness is about very much about observation without criticism and allows you to be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you are with others.

When you are feeling unhappiness or stressed, mindfulness allows you to catch the negative thoughts and deal with them before they start to spiral into depression. It is a great way to give you control of your life, in a positive way. In the long-term mindfulness can impact mood as well as happiness and well-being.

Studies have shown that mindfulness can help prevent depression as well as positively influence day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they leave more easily.

Despite the benefits, some people still aren’t convinced so we thought we would set the record straight so you know exactly what it is all about:

Meditation is not a religion.

You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor to meditate, but you can if you like. Whether it is on a bus, in your bed, on the floor, in the library or at you desk, it is possible to meditate pretty much anywhere.

Mindfulness needs patience and persistence but doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Just ten minutes a day can really help you reassess and actually free up time because you are letting go of negativity.

Meditation is not complicated and there is no success or failure. At times meditation might feel difficult but it is part of a learning process that will help free your mind and emotions.

Meditation is not about accepting the unacceptable but about taking a wiser, clearer view of the world. In time it will give you greater awareness, clarity and compassion.

The simplest way to start is to find a comfortable spot and sit so that you can feel (some say follow) your breath as it goes in and out. To start with, your attention will wander but when you notice this, return your attention to the breath and carry on.

They say practice makes perfect and this is certainly true of meditation. Before long you will be a natural and will reap the benefits without even realising it.

Let us know how you get on.