Mindfulnessدوره: انگلیسی شش دقیقه ای / درس 98
Relax, slow down and breathe. Neil and Catherine explore mindfulness - what it is and what benefits it offers
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Neil OK, I want you to close your eyes. Focus… on your breathing.
Catherine Er, Neil? Can we do this later? We’ve only got six minutes.
Neil Ok, Catherine. Welcome to a mindful edition of 6 Minute English, where we’re exploring the rise of mindfulness - particularly in schools.
Catherine And we’ll be teaching six items of vocabulary along the way. So I think we should start with mindfulness itself.
Neil Being mindful , as an adjective, means ‘being calmly aware of everything in your body and mind’. You only focus on ‘now’.
Catherine People practise mindfulness , the noun, by focusing only on their breath, and not allowing themselves to be distracted by passing thoughts.
Neil Indeed. It’s traditionally associated with Buddhism, and has become incredibly popular in the secular world - in workplaces, in private classes and even in schools.
Catherine Secular means ‘non-religious’ by the way.
Neil OK, I just mentioned schools: how many teachers in the UK are trained to teach mindfulness? Is it … a) 500, b) 5,000 or c) 50,000?
Catherine Let me focus really hard - I think it’s 5,000.
Neil A very mindful answer, Catherine. But I’ll reveal the real answer later. Now let’s hear from one teacher who’s been practising mindfulness with students for many years. Alison Mayo, Head of Early Years at Dharma Primary School, thinks it’s particularly suited to young children. Why?
INSERT Alison Mayo, Head of Early Years, Dharma Primary School That’s very natural for children - to be in the present. And we really kind of celebrate that because that is a place where they are learning. So, if they feel grounded , then they can really develop their concentration and their focus, and relax. Learning happens so much more easily if you’re relaxed and happy.
Neil Alison said it was natural for children to be in the present.
Catherine The present - means ‘now’. You’ll know it from the ‘present tense’ in grammar. And people who practise mindfulness use this phrase a lot - to be in the present , or in the present moment.
Neil It sounds simple, but actually it’s very hard to achieve.
Catherine Well, Neil, it might be for an old chap like you, but for young people, Miss Mayo thinks it’s very natural.
Neil Fair enough. Being grounded , as she says, helps students concentrate and learn in a relaxed way.
Catherine Grounded is another good adjective there - it means ‘rational, sensible, clear thinking’.
Neil So, she’s a fan of mindfulness. And there’s growing evidence behind its benefits.
Catherine Yes. The UK’s national health advisory body has recommended it to help treat conditions like depression and anxiety.
Neil Studies have shown it reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Catherine And a new study has claimed that eating mindfully can actually help people to lose weight.
Neil You mean eating slowly?
Catherine Yeah, slowly and really experiencing and tasting the food. Not being distracted and not eating too much too fast! Anyway, Neil, is mindfulness taking over the world?
Neil Well, not quite yet. There still aren’t many detailed studies on it - and some critics say the studies we have show a publication bias. In other words, only the positive results are published.
Catherine A bias is when you support something or someone in an unfair way, because of your preferences or beliefs.
Neil What seems certain is that mindfulness has entered into many aspects of modern life, at least here in the UK. Now, let’s look back at our question. I asked how many teachers in the UK have been trained in mindfulness.
Catherine And I said 5,000.
Neil Well, it was actually 5,000. Well done! According to the Mindfulness Initiative. And it keeps on growing.
Catherine So before we finish up, here’s another question that might be useful for our listeners - what’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Neil Aha - that’s not so easy to define. Meditation is the broader term. When you meditate you spend time quietly - focusing your mind - often for relaxation or spiritual purposes. Mindfulness is a particular a kind of meditation - when you try to empty your mind of thought. Does that make sense?
Catherine Yeah, more or less. So we’ll let our listeners meditate on that answer. And before we empty our minds, let’s look back at today’s words. We had mindfulness , mindful and mindfully - they all relate to the particular practice of being only focused of what’s happening now.
Neil What’s happening now, or we could say - what’s happening in the present. People often focus on the past - thinking back about mistakes or happy memories…
Catherine Or on the future - which can be full of worries. But by being in the present - you overcome these thoughts and fears. Next we had secular. It contrasts with ‘religious’. So, while a church is a religious building, we also have secular buildings - like factories and shops and hospitals…
Neil All non-religious buildings, in other words!
Catherine Exactly. Now, tell me Neil, are you feeling grounded right now?
Neil You’re asking if I’m thinking clearly and feeling connected to the world? Do you even have to ask, Catherine - I’m a very grounded person.
Catherine You are, most of the time. Most of the time you’re naturally grounded , every now and again you get a bit panicked, but … some of us need to remember to slow down, chill out and meditate once in a while.
Neil Yes, that would be meditate meaning to take quiet time to focus deeply on something.
Catherine Exactly. Now for more ways to improve your English I suggest you mindfully visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages.
Neil Yes, focus only on our pages. Don’t be distracted by anything else!
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