Our new 'Be Mindful' channel exclusive to BEAM

10th October 2016

A woman using mindfulness methods to create a positive state of mind

Mindfulness is a form of meditation which develops our ability focus our attention on the present – allowing us to recognise and accept what is happening around us. The practice often starts by concentrating on our breathing, a sensation in our environment, or an activity we can lose ourselves in.

In 2016, most of us lead busy lives with lots of things competing for our attention, and lots of tasks to juggle. Practicing mindfulness can help us feel more connected – to ourselves, to our family, and to the world around us.

Most of us can benefit from stopping and focusing on the ‘right now’, before stepping back into the bustle of our lives. We all know that good ideas and fresh inspiration often pop into our heads when we aren’t thinking about them.

Rooted in Buddhist traditions, mindfulness is thousands of years old. In recent years, mindfulness has become an established method of personal development and stress management in the Western world, allowing us to build resilience and cope with life’s challenges. Mindfulness practice has also been used to develop two structured therapeutic approaches - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. These techniques have a strong evidence base as a way of managing stress and preventing relapse in depression and anxiety.

A long train journey can be a great time for reflection – we are sat in one place, away from other distractions. By introducing Slow TV to BEAM, Virgin Trains is giving passengers another opportunity to do just that…gain focus whilst watching the world go by in some of the most beautiful landscapes the UK has to offer.

Not everyone is ready to jump straight in and commit to a course in order to fully learn the practice of mindfulness. Whether it’s by watching real-time, Slow TV train footage from an actual journey on your route or by focussing on some still, beautiful landscape footage, we can all benefit from taking some time out from our hectic lives to bring our attention into the present moment.

The Wellbeing channel ‘Be Mindful’ on BEAM gives passengers a unique opportunity to take time for themselves and to practice paying deliberate attention to a beautiful video. The potential value of taking time out during a journey to pause and be aware of our internal ‘weather’ before carrying on with work cannot be underestimated in today’s world.

Though Slow TV isn’t mindfulness in a formal sense – it’s a great and accessible way to create curiosity and encourage mindful activity. If it makes you interested, and you want to find out more, then Mental Health Foundation can help you find out more about mindfulness. As well as a simple How To Guide on mindfulness, the Foundation offers the only online evidence based mindfulness course in the UK. Be Mindful Online.

By supporting the Mental Health Foundation, Virgin Trains is not only taking the opportunity to bring mindfulness to a wider audience, it is also helping to support the development of new and innovative mindfulness based approaches in schools, during pregnancy, and in some of the most challenging and unexpected areas such as prisons.