Open and honest conversations with a potential new client is what I like. Here’s one I had this week which is so pertinent I had to share it.

Client – So I’m confused, is mindfulness well-being?

Me – Yes it can be.

Client – But not definitely?

Me – Not always.

Client – Why not?

And there’s the nub of it. It has become very confusing.

Many people are using the words ‘well-being’ and ‘mindfulness’ interchangably as if they are the same, which they’re not (necessarily).

Well-being may be the feeling that arises following nice-to-do activities or good feeling experiences .

A definition of wellbeing “it refers to a state of being healthy, happy, and comfortable, both physically and mentally”.

Mindfulness is a very specific training of the mind. It comes from a clinical background, initially developed for depression, anxiety and pain control in 1970s by John Kabbat- Zinn and other scientists and still is being developed by these people and many others globally. In recent times, these same practices have been developed to be used in a more general setting for feelings of positivity and flourishing.

So we can say, depending on personal circumstances, that the practice of mindfulness ‘may’ result in feelings of well-being but well-being activities are not mindfulness (but could be learnt to be done mindfully!)

The practice of mindfulness is about noticing what is going in the mind, body and environment in any moment. We are all different and, of course, anything could be going on. There could be feelings of contentment and elation but there could also be feelings of frustration, resentment, pain even. Or literally any other sensation you can think of.

“A well known and true saying is that mindfulness ‘is simple but not always easy’”.

This is why we work very gently and kindly with any emotions or sensations that may be present. Noticing what’s really going on in any particular moment may be uncomforable and dificult to sit with.

And so it makes sense that well-being ‘might’ be the outcome of a mindfulness practice. I would say that it often is. The experience of taking ‘timeout’, slowing down, practicing with others and focusing on the breath and body is one that can feel positive and allows the mind to be less busy..…..even for a while.

And that has to be good!


This article is written by Georgie from Time For The Mind – Mindfulness, Well-being & Bereavement Coach.

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