Mindfulness in the mainstream: an old solution to modern problems

The Attlee Room in parliament will fall quiet on Tuesday to hear one of the country’s leading meditation teachers explain the basics of the 2,400-year-old tradition of mindfulness. Prof Mark Williams’ explanation of how to control and measure your breath, thoughts and feelings will precede a call by a cross-party group of MPs and peers to roll out mindfulness-based meditation across the public sector in a bid to improve the nation’s mental health, education and criminal justice system.

After a year-long inquiry, the all party parliamentary group (APPG) on mindfulness has concluded that secular meditation courses should be made available to 580,000 people who suffer recurrent relapses into depression, at an initial cost of £10m; the state should train 1,200 new meditation teachers and there should be more mindfulness taught in schools following evidence that it reduces misbehaviour and can improve GCSE results. They also want prisons and probation services to test run programmes to reduce re-offending.

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