Mindfulness as a Thinking Skill for a Distracted Generation

Graeme Nixon

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


Mindfulness is an innate capacity of the mind to be aware of the present moment in a non-judgemental way. It promotes a way of being that helps us to take better care of ourselves and lead healthier lives. It also enables us to access inner resources for coping effectively with stress, difficulty and illness. Mindfulness is now being explored as an intervention in medicine (particularly in relation to depressive relapse), sport, business and education.
In relation to young people there is a growing evidence base for the application of mindfulness to ADHD; autistic spectrum disorders, and for developing self-compassion, self-regulation and empathy for others.
At the university of Aberdeen, at Oxford, Bangor and Exeter universities, there are MSc programmes in mindfulness introducing students to mindfulness based treatments and interventions. The Aberdeen programme, however, attracts professionals from a range of settings as diverse as sports coaching, teaching, social work, victim support, psychotherapy, medicine and business management. Moreover, the Aberdeen programme, unlike other, more clinically based programmes, foregrounds the development of compassion for self and others as pivotal to developing a mindful outlook and behaviour.
This paper intends to outline what mindfulness is, and what some of the claims are for this, before looking at mindfulness as a possible intervention with children with challenging lives. The contention is that mindfulness may enhance self-esteem, meta-cognition, mental health, self-regulation, and empathy for others in a more profound way than prescriptive or heteronomous initiatives that attempt to cultivate pro-social behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2012
EventYouth in Crisis Conference - University of West of Scotland, Ayr, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Feb 201222 Feb 2012


ConferenceYouth in Crisis Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Mindfulness in Schools


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