Much of my work involves teaching mindfulness to groups. I am a partner in Mindfulness Sussex and Mindfulness London, which offers Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshops and courses, and I lead residential Mindfulness Retreats in the south-east of England. In organisations, I offer talks, workshops, consultancy, and courses for staff.
My first career was in journalism - after graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, I worked for newspapers and magazines including Arena, Time Out, the Independent On Sunday, Elle, the Observer, Empire and FHM (where I was deputy editor). After some soul-searching in the early 2000s, my work changed direction. Informed by experiences of depression and anxiety, I started writing about health and well-being. I studied for a post-graduate certificate in counselling and psychotherapy, and began researching and writing reports for the Mental Health Foundation.
I began practising mindfulness meditation in 2001, and found it an invaluable way to cultivate health and well-being. In 2006, I spent a year living and working at Dechen Choling, a Buddhist retreat centre in central France, deepening my study and practice. On my return to the UK, I began writing regularly for the Guardian about meditation, well-being and Buddhism, and became increasingly interested in secular mindfulness-based approaches. Working again with the Mental Health Foundation, I proposed, developed and wrote the Be Mindful Report, which looks at how mindfulness can be an effective treatment for depression and other health issues, spearheading a campaign to make it more available in the NHS.
I also began work on my first book The Mindful Manifesto:How Doing Less And Noticing More Can Treat Illness, Relieve Stress and Help Us Cope With the 21st Century, which takes these themes further, examining how mindfulness can help us as individuals and as a society. It was co-authored with Dr Jonty Heaversedge, and published in September 2010. My writing now centres on mindfulness-based approaches, and I contribute regularly to a range of written and broadcast media. My second book, Mindfulness: How To Live Well By Paying Attention was published in January 2015 and my third book, Into The Heart Of Mindfulness, which tells some of my own story, was published in June 2016. My books have sold more than 30,000 copies and been translated into seven languages.
In 2010 I completed a mindfulness teacher development retreat run by the Centre For Mindfulness Research and Practice (CMRP) at Bangor University, and began leading mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) courses and retreats. Since then, I have taught mindfulness to thousands of people, leading more than seventy eight-week mindfulness courses, as well as many workshops, retreats, and events for organisations. I continue to train with and receive supervision from CMRP staff. I speak and teach at festivals, conferences and other events, and am a co-teacher on the Mental Health Foundation's Be Mindful Online course, which has been taken by more than 10,000 people. I also work regularly with schools, leading mindfulness courses for teachers, including as part of the MYRIAD project, a major research trial of mindfulness in schools led by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. I am listed by the UK Network for Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations as a mindfulness teacher that meets the UK Good Practice Guidance.
In spring 2014, I became co-director of The Mindfulness Initiative, which is supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness to develop mindfulness-based policies for the UK. During this time, the Initiative worked with the MAPPG to hold an inquiry into the possible benefits of mindfulness in a number of areas of public life (healthcare, education, criminal justice and the workplace). Its report - Mindful Nation UK - which I helped write and edit, was published in October 2015. Having stepped down as co-director in summer 2015, I am now an advisor to the Initiative. In 2017 I became an associate of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and the Sussex Mindfulness Centre.
I live near Haywards Heath, West Sussex, with my wife, Victoria and our two sons Arthur and Barnaby.