While some wellness trends can be a little kooky or even dangerous (vaginal steaming and goat yoga spring to mind) there’s others that have really stuck around.
Calling mindfulness a ‘trend’ may be a little misleading, though, as it’s been practised for centuries as a core component Buddhist tradition and arrived in the west in the twentieth century.
Mindfulness uses forms of meditation to clear the mind of stresses and anxiety by focusing on the smells, sounds and feelings of the present moment. If you can nail it, it’s a great way to chill out and move your physical body into rest and digest mode – also known as firing up the body’s parasympathetic nervous system – but here’s the clincher: it takes practice.
Which is why there’s so much media in the form of books, apps and podcasts that promise to teach newbies how to do it. We’re about to tell you everything you need about one of the most popular - Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in A Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
What is Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World?
Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World is a book that was published in 2011 and went on to become hugely popular, spawning follow up books like Mindfulness for Health and Mindfulness for Creativity, and even an app. It was written by Oxford Professor Mark Williams and esteemed journalist Dr Danny Penman.
Mark Williams the author of Mindfulness
Mark Williams is a retired Oxford University Professor of Clinical Psychology (he’s got lots of letters after his name, that’s for sure) who, along with journalist Dr Danny Penman, wrote best seller Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World? in 2011.
On his staff page on the official University of Oxford website, he says, “My research focuses on psychological models and the treatment of depression and suicidal behaviour, particularly the application of experimental cognitive psychology to understanding the processes that increase risk of suicidal behaviour in depression. The research is important because relapse and recurrence in major depression is a major problem for sufferers, their family and society, in both high income as well as low and middle income countries throughout the world.
“With my colleagues John Teasdale (Cambridge) and Zindel Segal (Toronto) I co-developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for prevention of relapse in depression. Studies show that MBCT reduces the recurrence rate in those who have suffered three or more previous episodes of major depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. In Great Britain, the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), working on behalf the National Health Service, has recommended MBCT as a primary treatment for prevention relapse in depression.”
Is Mark Williams' Mindfulness app free?
The official Mindfulness: Finding Peace app was developed following the success of the book and is designed to be used in conjunction with it. It’s free to download and use and is ranked 4.4 stars out of five, which isn’t too shabby.
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Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World book
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World is the title of the original 2011 book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, which comes with a free CD and celeb endorsement from the likes of Ruby Wax and Goldie Hawn.
The book promises to “[reveal] a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help you break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. It promotes genuine joie de vivre; the kind of happiness that gets into your bones and seeps into everything you do.
“The book is based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT revolves around a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation which takes just a few minutes a day for the full benefits to be revealed. MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression and it is recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – in other words, it works.
“But more importantly, it also works for the rest of us who aren’t depressed but who are struggling to keep up with the relentless demands of the modern world. In short, Mindfulness helps you meet the worst that life throws at you with renewed courage.”