Finding peace in a busy life

Mindfulness means to be fully present, here and now, in an open and curious, non-judgemental way.

It is a highly practical approach to improving the quality of your life. Because very often we are brooding about the past or worrying about the future.

In recent decades mindfulness has been extensively researched and many positive effects on mental and physical health have been found.

Mindfulness helps to better handle stress, to worry less, and offers protection against depression and burn-out. In addition it helps to increase focus, be more creative and make more meaningful connections with others.

This may explain why mindfulness is increasingly used in the workplace (Google, McKinsey, Unilever…) as well as in healthcare and in schools.

Although it takes some practice and perseverance, mindfulness is quite simple to learn and can be learned in an 8-week training programme.

The benefits of mindfulness

Personal

  • Lower stress
  • Clearer vision
  • Greater well-being

Interpersonal

  • Better communication
  • Less conflict
  • Stronger relationships

Organisational

  • Lower absenteeism
  • Higher engagement
  • Higher productivity
Source: M. Chaskalson, The Mindful Workplace (2011) and A.Chiesa and A. Seretti, A systematic review of neurobiological and clinical features of mindfulness meditations. Psychological Medicine 40 (2010)
To demonstrate the benefits, our courses start and end with a self-assessment. Optionally it is also possible to track progress with biofeedback tools. This is particularly useful to illustrate how you deal with daily stressors such as meetings, traffic and interaction with others.

If you would like to know more about the scientific studies that have been done on mindfulness, you can find more information on the website of the American Mindfulness Research Association (AMRA).

Frequently asked questions

If you want to experience less stress and lead a happier and more fulfilled life, then mindfulness can be the answer.

Perhaps you recognise yourself in one of the following scenarios:

  • You are suffering from stress and you are afraid of having a burn-out,
  • You have difficulties relaxing and sleeping and you often feel tired,
  • You are finding it hard to focus at work,
  • You are struggling with worries and difficult emotions such as anxiety, anger or sadness,
  • You feel you could achieve so much more in life.

The 8-week mindfulness programme will offer you practical tools and techniques to deal with the difficulties of everyday life in a more helpful way.

Mindful awareness is about learning to pay attention. It’s like training a muscle – training attention to be where you want it to be. This reduces our tendency to work on autopilot, allowing us to us choose how we respond and react in stressful situations.

Mindfulness is cultivated in a variety of ways. This includes sitting down (on a chair) and observing your thoughts, emotions or your breath. But mindfulness can also be developed by simply focusing on the task at hand whether you are at work in a meeting or at home cooking a meal.

Courses offered by the Brussels Mindfulness Institute are based on the internationally recognised programmes developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn (MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and Mark Williams and colleagues (MBCT: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy).

Our teachers are all certified in MBSR or MBCT and all have 15+ years of work experience, enabling them to translate mindfulness to the reality of daily life.

Courses are given in a group format with 8 to 20 participants.

There have been several myths related to mindfulness, in particular about its origins. While it is true that mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, mindfulness as such is strictly non-religious. It has been brought to the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn who distilled some of the awareness and concentration techniques to help chronically ill patients deal better with their illness.

Today the benefits of mindfulness are widely recognised and mindfulness is increasingly used at schools, in the workplace but also in the army and in elite sports where resilience, focus and self-management are key.

Mindfulness is not intended as a cure for depression, but as a way of preventing falling back into it once you have had one or more depressive episodes. It is important that you are in a state of relative psychological well-being when you participate in a training programme.

When you are in the midst of depression, it is wiser to first seek medical and/or psychological treatment to get better, and then participate in a mindfulness programme afterwards to prevent falling back into depression.

Learning how to do mindfulness meditation is a very delicate process in which you build new neuronal connections that need to be associated with a positive state of mind and mood.

Please consult your doctor or psychotherapist to determine whether you are ready to participate in an 8-week mindfulness course.

These days, mindfulness is popping up everywhere, and is all over the media. In itself this is not a bad thing, because many people can benefit from mindfulness. Unfortunately this can create the impression that it is just a hype, and that it will only stay until the next thing comes along.

In essence, however, people have always been searching for what mindfulness can offer. Seeing things clearly, finding peace and stillness in the midst of all the busyness, are things that have always appealed to people and that will always be useful.

The course includes eight sessions. You will receive a manual with mindfulness exercises and summaries of the sessions. You will also receive free access to guided meditations.

Here are some elements of what the training includes:

  • Learning to be fully present
  • Using your breath as a source of stability
  • Becoming aware of physical stress signals
  • Mindful yoga and stretching exercises
  • Exercises related to situational stress awareness
  • Insight meditation exercises
  • Bringing more awareness in communicating with others
  • Developing a prevention plan for your mental health

Throughout the 8 weeks you learn to better understand your own emotional and thinking patterns.

You will know how stress and/or depression arise, how you can recognise them in time, and develop your own action plan for responding wisely to (acute and chronic) stress and low mood.

The Brussels Mindfulness Institute offers the flexibility to switch between courses in the same week. So if you have a last-minute meeting, or you are away for a long weekend, you can still join the other group to catch up.

If you can’t make it on the other days, you can still use the manual where you will find the summary of what we have discussed this week, and you will have access the necessary downloads that you can practice with in that week.

In the 8-week course, we will be working to change patterns of mind that have often been around for a long time. These patterns may have become a habit. We can expect to succeed in making changes only if we put time and effort into learning new skills.

This approach depends entirely on your willingness to practise between the weekly sessions. Every week, different exercises will be offered for practice at home or elsewhere, varying in duration. They involve tasks such as practising with recorded meditations, performing brief exercises, filling in handouts, and so on.

It can be difficult to carve out some time for something new in our already very busy and crowded lives. However, the commitment to spend time on home practice is an essential part of the training. Whenever possible, exercises will be given that you can do while you are doing the things that you already do, but other practices will require some extra time investment.

We offer the 8-week course only in a group format, because it is a much more interesting experience to learn mindfulness in this way.

The fact of sharing your experiences with others, and/or listening to the experiences of the other participants, allows you to see that you are not alone in facing the challenges of life.

While in day-to-day situations we spend a great deal of energy pretending that we have everything under control, in this kind of group programme you can see that others are actually dealing with the same challenges as you, and that they’re also struggling to find peace of mind and happiness.

The minimum number of participants for starting the 8-week course is 8 per group. The maximum is 20 people per group, but usually the size of the group is between 12 and 15 people.

This group size allows the chance for everyone to share their experience, and also hear other different or similar experiences, which can be very enriching.

A wide range of people take part in this kind of programmes, ranging from people in their twenties up to over seventy years of age.

Most of them are working in international environments or come from different countries. They have quite active and busy lives, and work in many different fields (private sector, administration, law, consulting, …).

A mindfulness course or workshop is not group therapy. In these programmes we won’t be discussing our personal problems and we won’t be sharing our life story with the other participants.

We are already caught up quite enough in our personal story, worrying why and how all these things have happened to us.

What we learn by practicing mindfulness is how we relate to our story, how our story influences how we feel and act here and now, and how we can get a different and more useful perspective on it.

Although this is not group therapy, and you won’t be sharing very intimate things about your life, confidentiality is crucial to create an atmosphere of trust and sharing within the group.

Confidentiality will be observed by both the participants and the trainer. You will be asked to sign a written statement about this at the start of the first session.

This being said, it is perfectly okay for you not to share anything at all. You can also just come and listen.

You can find the detailed planning of upcoming courses and workshops on the “Courses” page.

Each course will be given by a different trainer. While you will be able to switch between these courses when you can’t make it on a particular day, we would like to ask you to stick as much as possible to the same course, as this is important for group dynamics.

You can find more information on the location of the courses and workshops on the “Contact” page.

Free e-book
"FROM STRESS & STRUGGLE TO CALM FOCUS"

Would you like to learn to step out of the stress mode and focus on what really matters?

In the free e-book, you will discover:

  • How stress actually works.
  • How you can recognise your own stress patterns.
  • Concrete mindfulness exercises and strategies for dealing with stressful situations and finding back a calm focus.

MAKE STRESS YOUR FRIEND WITH MINDFULNESS

Fill out the form to download it now.

Your data will never be shared with others. As a bonus, you will also receive our newsletters with mindfulness insights. You can easily subscribe at any moment.

x