An award-winning CIO charity and one of London’s most important cultural venues have teamed up to create a series of mindfulness courses especially designed for the 50+ community across the Royal Borough. The Kensington and Chelsea Over 50s Forum and the Design Museum in Kensington are keen to promote the importance of health and wellbeing during this difficult time.
The first mindfulness course at the Design Museum – a major cultural centre in the capital and European Museum of the Year award winner – was held in June 2021 following more than 12 months living under COVID-19 restrictions. Due to the huge success of the course, The Kensington and Chelsea Over 50s Forum is pleased to confirm a series of free ongoing sessions for older people.
The free courses are run by the Forum’s resident mindfulness coach Elizabeth Hooper, who has been specialising in non-profit mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques for over a decade. Having gained a graduate degree in Relaxation, Meditation, and Mindfulness, and as a S.M.A.R.T Foundations qualified Mindful Intuition coach, Hooper hopes that improving awareness of simple stress management techniques can help over 50s remain strong, resilient, and healthy at a time when many are feeling overwhelmed.
She said, “Physical health has been a firm priority for all of us over the past year, but unfortunately many of the sacrifices that we’ve made in order to protect ourselves have had significant impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. The over 50s community especially is shown to have struggled significantly, unable to hug our grandchildren or see our friends and family in person, so it’s more important than ever that we take action to look after our emotional health, as well as physical health.
“We hope that our free mindfulness courses in partnership with the Design Museum will help to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and make vital support accessible to those who need it during this challenging period.”
Mindfulness is the art of being aware of one’s surroundings, and understanding how the body responds to the situation; aspects that are often taken for granted, especially during stressful periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to help people become more in tune with their own feelings, thoughts, and emotions under various day-to-day circumstances, recognise when negativity is taking over, and practice grounding techniques that prevent spiralling thoughts and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Research has shown that mindfulness is about much more than simply adapting the mindset. These techniques have been shown to facilitate physical changes within the brain that correspond with improved learning and memory, and better regulation of emotions. While mindfulness was once largely considered to be a Buddhist technique, it is now widely practiced, and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a powerful and effective method for preventing depression. Research also suggests that mindfulness could help to ease symptoms of physical illness, too, including chronic pain and even IBS.
The Kensington and Chelsea Over 50s Forum’s free mindfulness courses for the over 50s are held at the new Design Museum in Kensington which was built on the site of the former Commonwealth Centre on Kensington High Street, funded by Sir Terence Conran who launched the original museum near Tower Bridge in 1989. The museum is the only one of its kind in the world exhibiting innovation in product, industrial, graphic, fashion, and architectural design.
To find out more about the free mindfulness courses, visit https://www.kensingtonandchelseaforum.org.uk/clients or call 020 7352 1336.