A Minute for the Mind

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Often finding yourself lost in the constant rush of day-to-day life? Planning your evening on the bus ride home? Folding your laundry with one eye on the children? You can too easily lose grasp on the present moment and feel like you’re living in an out of body experience. If you often find yourself feeling anxious, irritable, or always feeling tired, mindfulness could be the answer for you.

Mindfulness is the practice of clearing your mind of all the hustle and bustle for a short moment of quiet relaxation and re-connecting with yourself and the moment, however you’re feeling. Mindfulness derives from the wider umbrella of meditation. With its roots belonging to Buddhism, with the objective of taking the mind away from pre-occupations and appreciate tranquillity and a far-reaching perspective on life. But unlike meditation mindfulness can take as little as ten minutes and leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised.

But I know what you’re thinking, this is all some millennial, tree-hugging foolishness. You’re quite possible picturing a long-haired individual, dressed in tie-dye, clutching his battered Ram Dass novel eager to tell you how at peace with nature they are. But I’m here to give you a polite nudge in the opposite direction. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and offers an adaptive response to daily stressors. Studies show it can contribute to a positive attitude in all areas of life helping savour the pleasure in life working as a coping mechanism to adverse events. Also, it has been used as a treatment for depression as it helps regulate emotions while boosting resilience, empathy and self-esteem. Perhaps most importantly the therapy provides an opportunity to step back from negativity and seek clarity focusing on the here and now not worrying about past and future stresses.  We’ve got, among others, Professor Jon Kabat-Zimm to thank for bringing the method into mainstream practice. Through his work it has been found participants find it easier to accept life experiences while seeing positive changes in mood and behaviour, so from all of us here at Chester PLUS cheers Professor Jon!

So now I’ve got you all tantalized and in awe of what improvements this brief timeout could make on your outlook, here’s a little beginners outline I’ve put together.

Basic Mindfulness meditation- Take a seat and make yourself comfortable, sit quietly and close your eyes. Concentrate only on your natural, deep breathing. Allow thoughts to come and go but returning your focus to returning to your breathing.

Body sensations- Notice subtle changes, an itch or tingling. Scan your body from head to toe making note of each of these and let them go without judgement.

Sensory- Acknowledge your surroundings, what you hear, smell and taste. Be aware of the moment and let these pass. Return your concentration to your breathing.

For something with a bit more structure, perhaps you’d like to be guided through? Click on the video below…


So if you’re looking to reduce anxiety, improve concentration and increase creativity a short period of mindfulness every day might just be the key you’ve been missing to unlock a more zen you. Give it a go!

Written by Jonathan Blease

*disclaimer media not created or owned by Chester PLUS*

*Photo credit Enable Therapy Services*

*Video credit The Honest Guys*







New Year, New Start

This post was previously on chesterplus.org when we took our old site down in the new year:

Looking back 2016 has been a fantastic year for us, over the Summer we reached a first of being open five days a week and we regularly had activities on four days a week.

Numbers of people attending have also risen with some weeks fifty individuals coming along.

This has been truly amazing, with no staff or volunteers all the work has been accomplished by people with lived experience for people with lived experience.

To achieve this and to get us where we are now. we have always had to be flexible and to adapt to the constantly changing situations we find ourselves in.

At the beginning of the New Year we find ourselves in a slightly different situation.

Many of those who have got a lot from and given a lot to the charity are now themselves moving on to many fantastic opportunities and different adventures.

Coupled with the fact that while demand is still growing, we don’t want to push people who have come more recently to help run the charity before they’re ready.

We have decided to have a more flexible approach to our offerings that will change weekly according to our time levels available and other commitments.

We will remain open on Monday essentially from 10am till 8pm

10-12 Breakfast Club

12-3 Drop-in

3-6 Cooking group

6-8 Rethink Support Group

Each Monday we will then determine what else we will offer each week. Some weeks there may be two, some weeks five offerings, all entirely dependent on what we are capable of safely offering.

If anyone wants to be included on the Weekly Monday update either via text or email, please sign up as a member and let us know you’re preferred method of contact.

01244 343489 / info@chesterplus.org

New website, flyers & Posters to follow