Mindfulness & Meditation in London and Online
Mindfulness and meditation have been gaining popularity throughout the last years, both in mainstream culture and in a therapeutic setting, due to their many benefits. They help us connect with the present moment, understand ourselves better and develop a healthy relationship with our thoughts. Research shows the effectiveness of applying mindfulness and meditation to effectively cope with stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. These practices focus on connecting to and observing the present moment, just as it is, without trying to change it. They encourage us to intentionally check in with ourselves and take note of how we’re feeling. Instead of suppressing, avoiding or running away from any difficult thoughts or emotions, mindfulness and meditation allow us to observe them with non-judgment and unconditional acceptance. Cultivating a mindful posture can undoubtedly enrich your life. Doing so with the assistance of one of our therapists can be even more beneficial to your well-being.
If you’re interested in learning and practising mindfulness & meditation alongside one of our specialists, request a free 15-minute consultation today.
Discover Mindfulness and Meditation
What are Mindfulness and Meditation?
The word “Mindfulness”, when translated from Sanskrit, means remembering, going back to what’s important. Being mindful is about bringing our awareness back to the present moment in a non-judgmental manner. This state boils down to intentional noticing of our surroundings as well as paying attention to our inner life – thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations with no attachment or expectations connected to them. Mindfulness can be practised both formally and casually as a posture that we can bring into our daily life at any given moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, explains the essence of this practice by listing 9 essential attitudes of mindfulness. He also emphasises the role of self-acceptance in the process of honing in the ability to be aware of the present moment.
Meditation is a practice similar to mindfulness in a way that, through the use of directed awareness, it also observes any thoughts, feelings and sensations that might arise at the moment without interacting with them. The aim here is to increase a sense of calmness, deepen concentration and reach emotional balance. Meditation, however, has a more formal character. It’s usually practised in a seated position with attention directed inwards. Most commonly, it utilises breath as a point of focus, an anchor towards which one can direct their attention. There is an abundance of different meditation techniques as well as specific purposes, such as pain relief or stress reduction.
Are mindfulness and meditation the same thing?
Mindfulness and meditation can overlap and share a lot of similarities. However, it’s important to remember that they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Mindfulness can be embodied at any given time. As described before, it’s about cultivating present-moment awareness through fully engaging in the activity at hand. We can brush our teeth, be stuck in traffic, take a shower or a walk in a park in a mindful manner. On the other hand, meditation requires us to dedicate a specific time and place. Additionally, while mindfulness can be both formal and informal, meditation is solely a formal practice. That’s why beginners often prefer to start their journey by learning mindfulness, as it gives more freedom and, thus, can be easier to execute. Nevertheless, such a task can become even more immediate when practised with the guidance of our licensed professionals.
What are the benefits of meditation and mindfulness?
Finally, the vicious circle is made worse by associated issues such as substance use. You might feel tempted to resort to self-medication, especially with depression symptoms. Mania will make you more impulsive and irrational, leading to excessive alcohol and drug consumption.
The popularity of mindfulness and meditation can be partly explained by their many benefits to our physical and mental well-being.
Dedicating a particular time to stopping for a moment and turning our focus inwards is an excellent opportunity to deepen the relationship with the self. These practices help us observe and embrace our thoughts and emotions without engaging with them. Such distance allows us to notice and accept any complicated feelings such as anxiety, sadness or frustration without negatively labelling them. Giving yourself space and time to experience your pain can empower you to take charge of your mind. By regularly cultivating a mindful posture, changing or simply tolerating any unhelpful mental events such as thinking errors, or intrusive thoughts, images and memories is a lot more accessible. This is especially true when applied in a therapeutic setting where you’re supported and guided by a practitioner. Importantly, a mindful attitude increases our ability to choose how to consciously respond to any physical or mental event that presents itself rather than react to it mindlessly, automatically.
For example, imagine that you’re deeply focused on your work and you get a notification on your phone. Reacting would mean picking up your phone as soon as it buzzes while responding is noticing it, yet making the conscious decision to check it during the break. Additionally, mindfulness and meditation foster:
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- increased ability to regulate difficult moods
- Better cardiovascular capacity
- Improved immune system
- Better sleep and improved sleeping habits
- Better attention Pain relief
- Stronger neural connection
Does mindfulness work?
More than a decade ago, in 2010, 72% of GPs in the UK claimed that learning mindfulness and meditation skills would be helpful for their patients with mental health problems. Since then, mindfulness-based practices have been recognised as an effective way to address mental health issues and emotional challenges. Mindfulness has also been included as an intervention in various therapeutic approaches, offered both in a group setting and individually. MBSR, introduced by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is the first standardised therapeutic approach, where mindfulness meditation is taught and practised over 8 weeks to reduce stress and address chronic issues. Mindfulness is also commonly utilised in the 3rd wave cognitive-behavioural therapy approaches, such as ACT etc.
What issues can mindfulness help with?
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognises mindfulness as an effective therapeutic intervention that can be applied to prevent depression. Research also demostrates how mindfulness-based techniques can help individuals who struggle with:
- recurrent bouts of depression
- eating disorders
- borderline personality disorder
- suicidal ideation
- chronic pain
Mindfulness, due to its wide application and effectiveness, has been integrated in different therapeutic approaches such as:
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) 
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
Mindfulness and Meditation: How To Start?
How often do you spend your day thinking about your past, dwelling on your mistakes? Do you tend to think about the future, worrying about looming deadlines, never-ending to-do lists, wondering “what if”? Absent-mindedness, running on auto-pilot, and being reactive seem to be a new norm. This 2010 Harvard study says that “people spend around 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing”. Moreover, researchers add, such mind-wandering makes us unhappy.
Living in the present moment, in other words, cultivating a mindful posture, can help us enrich our daily existence. If you’re a beginner and you’d like to learn how to meditate or how to be more mindful, start with something small. If you’ve never meditated before, don’t expect yourself to be able to sit comfortably for 30 minutes without your mind wandering off. A great first step is to stay grounded and engaged in the present moment by using your senses throughout the day. Try noticing:
- The texture of the clothes against your skin (soft, coarse, loose or tight)
- The sensation of each inbreath and outbreath (flaring nostrils, rising and falling chest, slower heart rate, relaxation, quality of air)
- The taste of a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning (the temperature, the aroma, the weight of the cup in your hand, the feeling in your mouth)
Can Mindfulness Be Done Online?
Mindfulness can be practised in infinitely different ways, online included. For your personal use, there is an abundance of online courses and educational resources such as this one published by the University of Calgary. You can also find many different mindfulness exercises, scripts, recordings and videos. Here’s a great collection of resources listed by Positive Psychology. Mindfulness-based interventions are also applied in the course of therapy online. You can expect your therapist to guide you, ask you supporting questions, offer you prompts, and share valuable materials in the form of scripts or recordings.
Tips To Practice Mindfulness
1. Start Small:
Introducing mindfulness to your daily life doesn’t mean changing your habits 180 degrees. It just means engaging in your activities with a broader awareness of the present moment. Start by setting an intention of being mindful and try to bring yourself back to the here and now as often as possible. For example:
- When talking to someone else, put your phone away, make eye contact and ask meaningful questions.
- When standing in a line, instead of checking your emails, choose to calm and deepen your breath.
- When walking down the street, rather than listening to music, count how many different sounds you can hear.
Start there by grounding yourself in everyday existence. Try to taste it, smell it, feel it more profoundly. It will allow you to get out of your head and connect to the world around you.
2. Repetition is the mother of skill:
Even though mindfulness can be found in any task at any given moment, it is a good idea to set aside a specific time to practice it. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and eventually, the more available and natural the mindful approach will be to you. Think of ways how you can implement mindfulness into your daily routines. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Eat your lunch mindfully. Chew slowly. Don’t rush it. Pay full attention to the taste and texture of the food. Try to name the colours and aroma.
- Practice mindfulness while brushing your teeth in the morning. What does the toothpaste taste like? What are your movements? Does the toothbrush feel heavy or light? Are you sleepy or energised? Notice how the mundane experience of brushing your teeth changes into something curious and exciting.
3. Mix things up:
Sometimes all we need is a change of perspective, quite literally.
Maybe instead of always sitting at the same spot at your kitchen table, you can choose a new one.
What about trying a new meal or cooking a different dish?
What if you started driving back home from work via another route?
See how your daily experience can shift from being stuck in a rut, following a seemingly mundane routine to having small doses of exciting adventures, filled with new stimuli and curiosities.
4. Let go of expectations:
Mindfulness meditation really does come down to sitting still and being aware of the present moment. Yet, it’s easier said than done. Sooner or later, your mind will start wandering. And that is entirely normal. All sorts of thoughts start appearing from errands to run, emails to write, what kind of dinner we’d like to eat or how fun that one party three years ago was. Mindfulness is the art of coming back.
When struggling with a stubborn, recurring thought, don’t try to force anything or change it. Let go of expectations. Instead, treat your thought or feeling as a mental event which will pass. What might help is to visualise yourself sitting at the top of a hill, looking down on the road, where you can see cars passing by. Sometimes they slow down, causing traffic. Yet, sooner or later, they’re able to continue their journey. The same goes for your “sticky” thoughts. And if your mind wonders a million times, bring it back to where your focus was, with patience and non-judgementally, a million times.
5. Be gentle with yourself:
Getting lost in our thoughts, over and over again, while meditating can be a frustrating experience. It’s easy to criticise ourselves, engage in harmful self-talk, evoking feelings of shame, guilt or worthlessness. Try to observe and then name any of those uncomfortable feelings, thoughts or sensations arising in you while practising.
Keep in mind that mindfulness and meditation, by definition, don’t have a specific result. Simply showing up and sitting down to practice is a success. Doing so with compassion, kindness and gentleness towards the self brings us closer to a mindful posture, which in turn can lead to pleasant positive consequences that can have a positive impact on your mood, patience, stress and resilience levels.
Our therapists specialised in Mindfulness & Meditation
All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as, BACP, UKCP and BABCP.
Our therapists use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative approaches tailored around your needs to help you deal with your unique challenges and reach your goals.
The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.
He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.
I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.
My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.
The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.
Thank you to all at Therapy Central.
The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.
She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!
Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.
The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue.
Fees & Insurances
Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.
15 Minute initial
£105 - £120
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider
Meditation and Mindfulness in London and Online: Start Today
Starting out a new habit and facing new challenges can be equal parts exciting and intimidating. Going through the process with the assistance of a trained clinician provides not only stability, but also a sense of comfort that comes from being guided by an expert, highly skilled in working with other people. If you feel like you could benefit from the practice of mindfulness and meditation, whether in the context of a specific mental health struggle or to foster your wellbeing, don’t hesitate to reach out to our licensed therapists.
What happens after I make an enquiry?
After receiving your enquiry, we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner, and, depending on availability, we’ll try to accommodate this.
What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?
Your first session will likely be different from future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement. Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods, and treatment approaches.
Is online therapy effective?
If you choose online over in-person therapy, rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases, even more effective. Also, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example, avoiding long waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments, and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.
How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?
Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions, we can allow some flexibility. You can discuss this with your therapist.
Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?
We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed, students and NHS workers. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However, you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.
Our Practice in Central London
Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!
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