Breathe easy to combat anxiety: The mind tricks that can alleviate symptoms

October 22, 2012
The Mindful Manifesto, by Dr Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell: available at and
More than 870,000 Britons suffer from anxiety, a condition that triggers unnecessary feelings of uneasiness and worry.
Increasingly, mindfulness – a psychological therapy with roots in Buddhist meditation – is being used by the NHS to help alleviate the symptoms.

Here, in the final extract from his book The Mindful Manifesto, co-written with Ed Halliwell, Dr Jonty Heaversedge explains how it can help.

  • Before directing your mind towards the anxiety you are experiencing, focus on your breathing – the sensation of air slowly flowing into your nostrils, streaming down the back of your throat and into your lungs.
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The simple way to get peace of mind

October 7, 2012

Don’t think meditation is just for new-age hippies. Scientists have found genuine benefits in ‘mindfulness’ – a combination of psychotherapy and meditation increasingly used by the NHS to treat disorders ranging from addiction to insomnia.

Regular practice of a few simple exercises can help to alleviate conditions by calming mind and body and breaking unhelpful thought patterns.

Here, in the first extract from his book, Dr Jonty Heaversedge describes an exercise that can help manage pain …


Experience the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils, streaming down the back of your throat and into your lungs.

Notice the rising of your chest and the expansion of your abdomen as breath flows … Read more »

Meditation is an emotional rollercoaster.

Ed Halliwell: About four days into my first meditation retreat, I started crying. Not little droplets of tears, but great, big, uncontrolled sobs – it felt like I was throwing up wave after wave of stale sadness. I’d expected the long days of sitting to be boring, annoying, physically demanding and (with a bit of luck) illuminating, so to find myself repeatedly breaking down into a noisy heap of grief came as a shock. These spontaneous outbursts of wailing continued throughout the month-long programme – it says much for the teachers’ equanimity that they didn’t chuck me out.

So when would-be practitioners ask about the benefits of meditation, I tend not to give a straight … Read more »

Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation (Toronto Globe & Mail)

January 10, 2011

Zindel Segal was in a Toronto bookstore a few weeks ago, when a title caught his eye. The book, The Mindful Investor, caused him a moment of shock and panic.

“I turned to someone and said, ‘This is the beginning of the end,’ ” recalls Dr. Segal, who heads the cognitive behaviour therapy clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The book, which purports to explain how a calm mind can help a person achieve financial security, is a sign that the concept of mindfulness is making a leap into mass popularity. But that doesn’t mean people actually understand it, he says.

Mindfulness is a technique for slowing down and examining one’s … Read more »

Stars’ meditation technique gains mental health experts’ approval

January 4, 2011

National Health Service departments are now offering the Buddhism-inspired method of ‘mindfulness meditation’ which is favoured by celebrities such as Goldie Hawn.

A form of meditation practised by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars is becoming a major growth area within British psychology, as evidence grows of its effectiveness in dealing with anxiety and depression.

“Mindfulness meditation” was pioneered in the United States during the 1970s as a tool for alleviating stress and is practised, among others, by Meg Ryan and Goldie Hawn, who acts as an advocate for the technique. Drawing on ancient Buddhist principles to combat mental suffering, the technique encourages practitioners to slow down, “inhabit the moment” and become more accepting of their … Read more »

Footballers’ wives, prime ministers, lawsuits, and spiritual meditation

September 16, 2010

Every so often a new celebrity turns to meditation in a time of crisis. It’s Cheryl Cole’s turn apparently, according to numerous news sources, who all appear to be recycling an interview in Vogue. Now Magazine, for example, quotes Cole as saying:

‘Recently I’ve been trying meditation,’ she tells Vogue, ‘but I can’t really seem to get it. My mother does it, and I really think that actually may be the way forward for me, but the thoughts keep coming in. Always. How do you stop them coming in?’

It’s a common problem.

Who is Cheryl Cole? Apparently she’s married to a football player and has been on TV. We’ve never heard of her, but … Read more »