This page offers an introduction to mindfulness - a great tool for managing stress.It contains some simple first exercises to start using right away.
If you want to take it further, with a full 6-8 week training course, there is information on how to apply at the foot of this page.
This has been produced by me, Simon of Mindful Work (read more about me). I have 25 years mindfulness practice and teaching experience and have worked with over 250 AfC staff.
These five short videos are a great place to start if you're new to mindfulness.
The science of mindfulness
Mindfulness has been proven in thousands of studies to reduce stress, help with common mental health issues (NICE recommend it), as well as improving physical health such as blood pressure and cognitive abilities such as focus.
The video introduces this and you can read more detail in these notes:
PDF: Brain science in more detail
Mindfulness with breathing
Breathing mindfully is one of the most common ways to work with mindfulness. It can be done any time - even just one mindful, slow breath will make a difference to calm you down, once you know how.
The video introduces breathing practice, and you can read more detail in these notes:
PDF: Mindful breathing
Stress and anxiety checks
These interactive PDFs may be a useful way to break down strong feelings into manageable chunks. Stress and anxiety are so common, that it's good for any of us to do this. Fill out the forms and talk it through with a friend, line manager or someone you trust.
Simon runs a private Facebook group 'Meditate at 8' that you're welcome to join. It includes a livestreamed 20 minute meditation each Monday and Friday morning (join live or watch later) and other thoughts and tips. Join here
Simon puts videos on You Tube with tips and practical ways to meet some of life's challenges.
The 6 week mindfulness course + workplace modules
A few times a year AfC invites employees to join a group of about 20-25 people to do the full training which includes a 6 week Foundation course and a 2 week workplace module. This is done using online materials with interactive webinars. Average outcomes include over 70% reduction in stress, and 70% increase in productive focus.
See this short video to explain what you can expect.
Apply to join the 6 week course
The next two courses are planned for the Autumn 2021, dates are:
Sept 7, 9, 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 26 at 9.30am
Oct 20, 22, 27, Nov 3, 10, 17, 24, Dec 8 at 2pm
See what previous Action for Children trainees have said:
"The course was really good and I enjoyed the way it is set out, I am going to print the pages so I can return to them from time to time. I have shared the things I have learnt with those I work with and my own family, we are doing it all together."
"Much more aware of the stress, certainly in my neck, shoulders, forearms. I would say I'm at least 70-75% better at managing the stress already and hopefully that figure will increase over time."
"Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word that is floating around and I was concerned that it was all going to be twee. However, by committing to taking part and implementing what I was learning I could definitely see the value in ultimately helping me to take care of myself, and therefore affecting who I am with others. The course came at a poignant time in my life with some major changes taking place, and so I was grateful of being a part of the webinars as a time to reflect, take stock and take on something new. Thank you Simon – your expertise and ease in your delivery & approach were testament to how it is all of benefit."
"The mindful work 8 week course really helped me to manage my stress levels at work and at home. The course gives you basic knowledge of mindfulness with lots of useful handouts and alongside this there was plenty of practical exercises to do every week and these gave you an opportunity to find a practise that works for you. I found that the course has helped me to be more mindful every day and this in turn has helped me feel less stressed and more focused. The webinars were a very convenient way to learn and they were flexible if you missed one you could catch up. Simon was an excellent facilitator who is obviously very knowledgeable. Thank you."
"This course is a must for absolutely everyone! The benefits are amazing. I remember at the time thinking how will I be able to commit timewise to this course…..says it all really!
I now see the world and others in it, instead of head down and how much can I get done in a day…merely coping and existing….I am now living! Thank you."