Could the UK become a “Mindful Nation”? That’s the question an All-Party group of MPs are asking.
Yesterday they presented their interim report on how mindfulness could enhance our health, education, work and even criminal justice.
I found the whole event very inspiring. Our media is full of so much petty bickering between politicians, and so much self-serving behaviour, yet here was a panel of MPs and Peers clearly working very harmoniously and collaboratively together, motivated by the good of all.
Chris Ruane (a Labour MP representing the Welsh Valleys) told us of his vision for Mindfulness across the country and across society – and offered fulsome praise to the David Cameron for establishing the Well-being index when he first came to office. How often do you hear such praise for a Prime Minister from the opposition benches?
Gus O’Donnell (a Cabinet Secretary under 3 Prime Ministers and Life Peer in the House of Lords) also praised the introduction of the Well-being index, underlining its importance in what he sees as the true role of government: enhancing well-being for all.
Lord Richard Layard is a director at the London School of Economics, and was a key figure in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative in the UK National Health Service. He spoke about how we are “richer but no happier” than we were 50 years ago, and suggested that that’s because we’ve tended to overlook our inner world. He quoted research that says this is the single biggest predictor of well-being (with physical health in second place, and all other factors such as wealth, employment status, education etc being further down the list).
Tracey Crouch (a Conservative MP) told us of the difference Mindfulness has made in her life. In the report itself she writes, “Now I concentrate better in meetings – which means they can be shorter! It has also helped build my confidence in vulnerable situations like speaking on live radio or in the House of Commons.”
Before summing up, Lorely Burt (a Liberal-Democrat MP) described how she used to suffer from a “nagging voice in my head that tells me I can’t…….,” and how she is now prone to “inexplicable moments of happiness.”