Mindfulness for Wellbeing

Mindfulness helps us learn to recognise our thoughts, emotions, body sensations and impulses and to gather the scattered mind. Just a few minutes each day can have a really positive effect on your sense of wellbeing. It can be as easy as connecting to your breath or using all your senses to focus on the moment.
How does Mindfulness help you?

Clinical research shows that mindfulness practice can enhance the body’s natural healing systems, reduce fatigue and insomnia and substantially improve emotional health and wellbeing. Developed by Vidyamala Burch out of her own experience of living with the severe pain of spinal injury, the Breathworks programme has helped thousands of people worldwide to live well with pain and illness. You will learn to:

  • Bring gentleness, kindness and ease to your body, just as it is right now
  • Let go of unhelpful reactive patterns and respond wisely to the challenges of your health condition
  • Balance your energy so that you can get more out of life
  • Develop greater self-compassion and self-care
  • Start enjoying life again, whatever your state of health

What can you expect?

NCIM Mindfulness courses are conducted in small groups of 8 to 12 people.

Sessions will include guided mindfulness meditation, gentle movement and short home practices to bring mindfulness into your daily life.  You will receive additional useful information as well as guided audio links to help you continue your practice at home between sessions.

You will be invited to a pre-course discussion with the course tutor to make sure the course is right for you.

Mindfulness for Life - for the over 55s

NCIM has been funded by St Monica Trust to offer a series of wellbeing short courses across Bristol in person and online for people whose confidence has been knocked because of lockdowns and their sense of wellbeing affected by COVID-19.

Mindfulness for Life is for people over the age of 55. It’s an 8 week online course.

Course start dates: 1 October 2022, 19 January 2023, 14 March 2023

This course can help if:

  • You regularly worry, feel overwhelmed or anxious
  • You’re experiencing low mood or feel stuck
  • Your mind races or you feel consumed by your thoughts
  • You have trouble sleeping

Sign up if you want:

  • To feel more centred and balanced
  • To feel more resilient to deal with day-to-day difficulties
  • To calm your mind
  • To flourish (not languish)

About the course
Mindfulness for Life is a skills-based course, rather than a therapy. Each session builds on the previous one, so attendance at all sessions is important. This also helps build a sense of community.

What to expect
The course is online – you need access to a tablet or laptop (not a phone) to join the 2 hour weekly Zoom meetings.

All courses include a 1 week break partway through, so the 8 online sessions actually span 9 weeks (see course dates on page1).

You don’t need any experience of Mindfulness or Meditation to attend – just bring an open mind and a natural curiosity to each session. No specific fitness is required – we do the course mainly sitting, with some lying down if space permits.

During each 2-hour session there will be stretch breaks as well as an opportunity to pause, get a drink and chat with other participants.

You will be asked to undertake 20 minutes of home practice each day for the 8 weeks. This will be listening to an MP3 audio file that can easily be played on a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Like learning a new language or a musical instrument, without daily practice your skills won’t develop: this is an essential part of the course.

You will have a pre-course 1-to-1 meeting with the tutor where all these aspects can be discussed, and you can ask any questions that you have.

Mindfulness for Health - Breathworks™

An 8 week course for people living with pain and illness

This course will introduce you to a range of simple but effective practices to help you relieve the pain, stress and suffering of living with a health condition and start to enjoy life again.

NB This course is not currently running, but please get in touch to register your interest for future courses.

Mindfulness for Cancer

For people living with cancer and/or for their supporters

These mindfulness courses are specially adapted for people experiencing stress, anxiety or low mood following a cancer diagnosis, as well as their supporters, and include an optional online whole day retreat. You will learn a range of mindfulness meditation, gentle movement and daily living exercises, as well as receive materials to practice at home.

These courses will help you to:

  • Be more fully aware in the present moment, rather than being caught up in worries about the future or regrets about the past
  • Recognise your own unique pattern of stress and anxiety
  • Develop ways of ‘being with’ difficult or challenging internal experiences with greater calm, kindliness and equanimity, rather than avoiding or denying these experiences in a way that increases suffering
  • Develop coping skills to manage the challenges that you may face following a cancer diagnosis (or diagnosis of a loved one)

From 2018-early 2022 NCIM worked in partnership with Penny Brohn UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to deliver grant funded Mindfulness for Cancer courses.

NB This course is not currently running, but please get in touch to register your interest for future courses.

Mindfulness for Menopause

Wellbeing in the Menopause: Embracing the Change 

A six-week course bringing together Integrative Medicine and Mindfulness, to help you manage your health and wellbeing and make a creative transition through the Menopause. Delivered by an all female multi-disciplinary team: Mindfulness Practitioner, Holistic Doctor and Nutritional Therapist

Course structure:

Week 1: Coming back to the body: Understanding the physiology of the menopause and how mindfulness can support you.

Week 2: Developing stability and resilience: Soothing the nervous system and developing mindfulness practice to ground and stabilise yourself: Gentle movement for overall wellbeing.

Week 3: Caring for yourself: Sleep and self-care: Mindfulness practices to cultivate kindness and self-compassion.

Week 4: Making skilful choices: Letting go of unhelpful reactive patterns: Integrative treatments to increase resilience.

Week 5: Nourishing yourself: Enjoying and savouring through the senses: Nutrition and healthy living during the menopause.

Week 6: Moving forward: Ongoing maintenance and nourishment: Developing an action plan for challenging times: Future choices and follow-up activities.

The course includes a full day retreat at a peaceful location, giving you time for self-care and reflection and to deepen your mindfulness practice.

NB This course is not currently running, but please get in touch to register your interest for future courses.

Chris Barker – Mindfulness for Wellbeing Lead

Chris is a registered Mindfulness Teacher who graduated from The University of Exeter in 2020. He leads Mindfulness at NCIM as well as a national group supporting Mindfulness for Cancer teachers. His main Mindfulness work is with those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. This includes family / carers also impacted by the diagnosis.

Originally a PE teacher, Chris discovered in 2012 how transformative mindfulness can be when he was a stressed Head of Department in a large secondary school. Seeing how much it had changed his life he now teaches school children mindfulness and leads international training courses for other schoolteachers to do likewise.

Chris has undertaken further training through Oxford University and the Mindful Eating Training Institute in California. This includes ‘Mindful Eating’ for those who experience yo-yo dieting or emotional / binge eating episodes as well as courses aimed at the over 55’s who want to shift from languishing to flourishing in later life.

When undertaking 1-1 consultations online, Chris holds a space safe which allows difficult experiences to be shared. Drawing on a deep understanding of the principles of mindfulness, Chris offers insights into the mechanisms of suffering, as well as ways to skilfully work with this.