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Mindful : October 2014
British Politicians Keep Calm and Carry On Mindfulness has been bubbling up at Westminster, the seat of government in the United Kingdom. When Mindful first brought you the story of meditat- ing British politicians in our August 2013 issue, 12 Mem- bers of Parliament had taken part in an eight-week mind- fulness course. Those sessions started something: Politicians who tried meditating after- hours are now reporting the benefits of mindfulness to their government. Members of Parliament from across the political spec- trum have launched an All- Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on mindfulness. By the APPG launch, nearly 100 parliamentarians had taken the eight-week course. In May, they met in the House of Com- mons to discuss next steps. The APPG has set up an inquiry to explore the role mindfulness could play in British public life, particularly in health care, the workplace, education, and the criminal justice system. The inquiry will lead to a wide-ranging report, which will make mindfulness-related policy recommendations to the Brit- ish government. The training has given politicians first hand experi- ence of the benefits of practice. At the launch, Lord Andrew Stone spoke of how it helped him face the stress of difficult negotiations during a recent trip to Egypt, while MP Tracey Crouch shared how medita- tion helped her emerge from a place of anxiety that led her to take antidepressants—infor- mation that she felt she was ready to share with the public. Through a series of ongo- ing roundtable discussions, the Parliamentary inquiry will look at how mindfulness might be relevant to some of the broad challenges facing British society. Those issues include reduced spending on mental health care, restricted social mobility, and the economic and human cost of poor impulse control among offenders. The report, “A Mindful Nation,” will be published in March 2015. — Ed Halliwell ● Ed Halliwell is co-director of the Mindfulness Initiative in the UK. now 14 mindful October 2014 PHOTOGRAPHBYFEDORSELIVANOV/COLOURBOX.COM UCSD Center for MinDfUlneSS UpCoMing training anD retreatS MBCP: Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting January 18-24, 2015 / Petaluma, CA MBCT: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy February 15-20, 2015 / Petaluma, CA MBSR: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction March 23-29, 2015 / Tampa, FL MSC: Mindful Self-Compassion May 4-9, 2015 / Petaluma, CA (858) 334-4636