Mindfulness at Work


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"It has really helped me deal with work stress - I can't recommend the course enough."

The case for Employee Wellbeing & Engagement Initiatives

There is a clear case that poor staff health and wellbeing has a significant negative impact on the performance of NHS organisations (West, 2018). 

Public Health England estimate the cost to the NHS of staff absence due to poor health at £2.4 billion a year – accounting for around £1 in every £40 of the total budget. This figure is before the cost of agency staff to fill in gaps, as well as the cost of treatment, is taken into account.

It is well documented that investing in staff health and wellbeing delivers benefits for NHS organisations, their staff and ultimately patients. As shown in the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers and the NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework which supports the NHS People Plan. 

Workplace health and wellbeing programmes have the potential to improve general health and wellbeing by reducing risk factors for chronic disease and to create a more productive and economically viable workforce.  A sustainable mindfulness programme can be one of a range of wellbeing interventions NHS Trusts can implement to help its people lead happier, healthier lives.

Mindfulness as a Wellbeing & Engagement Initiative

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, in our bodies, minds and the world around us. It involves consciously bringing awareness to our thoughts and feelings, without becoming reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness-based interventions have consistently been found to reduce self-reported measures of stress, anger and rumination, while improving positive outlook, empathy, and self-compassion. Mindfulness training is associated with reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli, as well as improvements in attention and cognitive capacities. By relating to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and events in life more skilfully, practitioners may be less drawn into unhelpful habitual reactions and more able to make good choices about how to relate to their circumstances (Mindful Nation Report, 2015)

Participating in a mindfulness programme helps participants to take many of the NHS’s steps to wellbeing. It trains participants to take notice, whilst connecting and giving to others, and it provides learning for life.  With simple mindful movements taught in the programme, the practice of mindfulness is taken into one's daily activities in life.

Introducing Breathworks Mindfulness Training

Breathworks are international leaders in Mindfulness training, with 20 years of experience supporting people in building resilience, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing.  Founded by an expert patient who has used mindfulness to manage severe spinal pain for more than 35 years, The Breathworks Foundation (charity number 1131851) have been offering mindfulness programmes to all sections of society since 2001.

Breathworks is also a Founding Member Organisation of BAMBA (The British Association of Mindfulnesss-Bases Approaches)

Breathworks’ resources have been endorsed by the British Medical Association and the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme.  Our programmes have been evaluated in collaboration with senior researchers from UCL, Kings College and the British Pain Society.

Partners include Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Maggie’s Cancer Centres, Barts Health, Royal Liverpool and many more NHS Trusts.

"Working with Breathworks has been invaluable in improving the wellbeing of junior doctors at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.  From the day we started working together, the team at Breathworks showed themselves to be approachable, personable, and highly efficient.  We would highly recommend them as a mindfulness provider in all regards."

- Dr. Chris Bu, Royal Liverpool Hospital

With a wide range of training options tailored to your requirements and delivered by our highly experienced trainers, working to the highest national standards, Breathworks can support the organisational embedding of effective mindfulness programmes in the NHS.

Breathworks Sustainable Mindfulness Programmes for Healthcare Settings

We know that many NHS Trusts are not new to mindfulness training for staff, so you may come into this journey at different stages, but for those first setting out on the journey here is the path:

Step 1: Get a Taste - Introductory Sessions

Our introductory sessions will give you an introduction to the how and why of mindfulness practice.  These events can be anything from a 45-minute taster to a full-day event, depending on your availability, needs and budget.

In this session you will be introduced to:

  • mindfulness perspectives and practices
  • resources for building resilience
  • methods to manage stress and relax, refresh and restore

Step 2: Learn the Skills - Teacher-Led Course

The course provides:

  • 12 hours of live teaching input and Q&As with experienced trainers.
  • A comprehensive set of meditations, reflections and inquiries, mindful movement and daily life practices.
  • Home practice program and guided practice resources to use ongoingly 
  • Support and discussion forums with trainers and fellow participants 

Our courses take place in person or in a virtual classroom setting, allowing participants to connect and learn from each other, in a group format in accordance with evidence-based best practice for lasting change.

“I feel better able to handle the stress that can arise in my work, my relationships with my colleagues have improved, I feel less at risk of burnout or compassion fatigue and am better able to act compassionately with my patients.”

- Falls Specialist Nurse, Manchester Royal Infirmary

Tailored Option for Leaders. Our adapted programme provides a toolkit of resources to help establish a mindfulness practice in a leadership context.  The teacher led course also brings together a professional network of others who are working towards creating a practice of mindful leadership. 

Step 3: Keeping it Going - Community of Practice & Train the Trainer

Mindfulness is a skill that quickly becomes a trait - meaning that mindfulness is a solution that doesn’t feel like 'just another thing you have to do'.

We know it can be a challenge keeping it going and as a teacher training organisation we can equip staff within your Trust to embed the practice of mindfulness into the everyday operations of your healthcare environment.  We have worked at all levels of the organisational structure, including both medical and management staff.

If you have any questions, or want to enquire about training for your trust, please contact us here:

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References & Resources

APPG Mindful Nation UK Report (2015)

NHS Health & Wellbeing Framework (2018)

Stevenson, Farmer, P. (2017) Thriving at Work The Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers

West, M. (2018) Employee engagement,sickness absence and agency spend in NHS trusts, NHS England