BBC 6 minute English-Mindfulness

BBC 6 minute English-Mindfulness

BBC 6 minute English-Mindfulness


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Neil: OK, I want you to close your eyes. Focus… on your breathing

Catherine: Er, Neil? Can we do this later? We’ve only got six minutes

Neil: Ok, Catherine. Welcome to a mindful edition of 6 Minute English, where we’re exploring the rise of mindfulness – particularly in schools

Catherine: And we’ll be teaching six items of vocabulary along the way. So I think we should start with mindfulness itself

Neil: Being mindful, as an adjective, means ‘being calmly aware of everything in your body and mind’. You only focus on now

Catherine: People practise mindfulness, the noun, by focusing only on their breath, and not allowing themselves to be distracted by passing thoughts

Neil: Indeed. It’s traditionally associated with Buddhism, and has become incredibly popular in the secular world – in workplaces, in private classes and even in schools

Catherine: Secular means ‘non-religious’ by the way

Neil: OK, I just mentioned schools: how many teachers in the UK are trained to teach mindfulness? Is it

a) 500

b) 5,000 or

c) 50,000

Catherine: Let me focus really hard – I think it’s 5,000

Neil: A very mindful answer, Catherine. But I’ll reveal the real answer later. Now let’s hear from one teacher who’s been practising mindfulness with students for many years. Alison Mayo, Head of Early Years at Dharma Primary School, thinks it’s particularly suited to young children. Why

INSERT Alison Mayo, Head of Early Years, Dharma Primary School

That’s very natural for children – to be in the present. And we really kind of celebrate that because that is a place where they are learning. So, if they feel grounded, then they can really develop their concentration and their focus, and relax. Learning happens so much more easily if you’re relaxed and happy

Neil: Alison said it was natural for children to be in the present

Catherine: The present – means ‘now’. You’ll know it from the ‘present tense’ in grammar. And people who practise mindfulness use this phrase a lot – to be in the present, or in the present moment

Neil: It sounds simple, but actually it’s very hard to achieve

Catherine: Well, Neil, it might be for an old chap like you, but for young people, Miss Mayo thinks it’s very natural

Neil: Fair enough. Being grounded, as she says, helps students concentrate and learn in a relaxed way

Catherine: Grounded is another good adjective there – it means rational, sensible, clear thinking

Neil: So, she’s a fan of mindfulness. And there’s growing evidence behind its benefits

Catherine: Yes. The UK’s national health advisory body has recommended it to help treat conditions like depression and anxiety

Neil: Studies have shown it reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol

Catherine: And a new study has claimed that eating mindfully can actually help people to lose weight

Neil: You mean eating slowly

Catherine: Yeah, slowly and really experiencing and tasting the food. Not being distracted and not eating too much too fast! Anyway, Neil, is mindfulness taking over the world

Neil: Well, not quite yet. There still aren’t many detailed studies on it – and some critics say the studies we have show a publication bias. In other words, only the positive results are published

Catherine: A bias is when you support something or someone in an unfair way, because of your preferences or beliefs

Neil: What seems certain is that mindfulness has entered into many aspects of modern life, at least here in the UK. Now, let’s look back at our question. I asked how many teachers in the UK have been trained in mindfulness

Catherine: And I said 5,000

Neil: Well, it was actually 5,000. Well done! According to the Mindfulness Initiative. And it keeps on growing

Catherine: So before we finish up, here’s another question that might be useful for our listeners – what’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation

Neil: Aha – that’s not so easy to define. Meditation is the broader term. When you meditate you spend time quietly – focusing your mind – often for relaxation or spiritual purposes. Mindfulness is a particular a kind of meditation – when you try to empty your mind of thought. Does that make sense

Catherine: Yeah, more or less. So we’ll let our listeners meditate on that answer. And before we empty our minds, let’s look back at today’s words. We had mindfulness, mindful and mindfully – they all relate to the particular practice of being only focused of what’s happening now

Neil: What’s happening now, or we could say – what’s happening in the present. People often focus on the past – thinking back about mistakes or happy memories

Catherine: Or on the future – which can be full of worries. But by being in the present – you overcome these thoughts and fears. Next we had secular. It contrasts with ‘religious’. So, while a church is a religious building, we also have secular buildings – like factories and shops and hospitals

Neil: All non-religious buildings, in other words

Catherine: Exactly. Now, tell me Neil, are you feeling grounded right now

Neil: You’re asking if I’m thinking clearly and feeling connected to the world? Do you even have to ask, Catherine – I’m a very grounded person

Catherine: You are, most of the time. Most of the time you’re naturally grounded, every now and again you get a bit panicked, but … some of us need to remember to slow down, chill out and meditate once in a while

Neil: Yes, that would be meditate meaning to take quiet time to focus deeply on something

Catherine: Exactly. Now for more ways to improve your English I suggest you mindfully visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages

Neil: Yes, focus only on our pages. Don’t be distracted by anything else

Both: Bye

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