Mindfulness is the intentional practice of bringing your attention to the present moment and accepting it for what it is, without judgement or the desire for it to be somehow different.
The origins of mindfulness, as most of us understand it today, come from Buddhist traditions and meditation techniques. Yet since the 1970s mindfulness has become a popular form of ‘treatment’ for people experiencing depression, anxiety, addictions and stress related concerns. However, this comes with some tensions as more often than not, our access to mindfulness is through the use of paid-for apps or membership programmes.
This isn’t without criticism, academics have noted that mindfulness “was never supposed to be a merchandized commodity to be bought and sold” (Harrington and Dunne, 2015), yet if you search for mindfulness resources most of the ones that come up first will be the ones we all know about – and which usually have a cost.
So I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of free mindfulness resources. If you are aware of others, please feel free to contact me and let me know.
Pelouse Mindfulness Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Based on the approach developed by Job Kabat-Zinn, this site takes you through an entire 8-week MBSR programme – including videos, audios, and even PDF printouts. Developed by Dave Potter, a trained MBSR teacher, it includes resources that have been authorised for use by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Tara Brach and Shauna Shapiro – names you will often encounter when exploring mindfulness online.
I recommend this site to any client who expresses an interest in mindfulness for a couple of reasons. The first is that it follows the structure of an 8-week programme, and there is good evidence to suggest that people who follow such programmes get good results. The other, unsurprisingly, is that it’s free and available at a moment’s notice.
Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World
This is the title of a book by Mark Williams and Danny Penman that I’ll often suggest to people who are looking for a clear book. Danny Penman has no (co-)authored a number of books on the topic of mindfulness and has made available a number of resources online.
The Free Mindfulness Project
A collection of different guided meditations, available free of charge to download or stream.
Audio Dharma Guided Meditations
The rapid trend towards using mindfulness as a treatment towards suffering, rather than part of a spiritual practice, can overlook it’s roots in many forms of religion and spiritual teachings. These guided meditations come from Buddhist meditation centre in the USA.