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  • Writer's pictureHelen McGillivray

Mindfulness with a Small M - What is it?

The other day I recorded a video short and sent it to Shonagh at OK Positive HQ who then sent a reply to thank me highlighting that she had never heard of Small M Mindfulness. The truth is, I don't think I have either this was just me trying to describe briefly how I incorporate mindfulness into my life.  


Throughout my career I was able to participate in some mindfulness training. I recall my first couple of experiences were part of something else, I did not choose to do it.  My attitude was very cynical and judgmental: “what is this tree hugging yoghurt knitting nonsense”  and  “I don't get this” thoughts. It made no sense but, it sparked a curiosity and I continued set aside time to practice regularly - Mindfulness with a Capital M 


Over the years, as my mindfulness journey progressed I began to incorporate it into my therapy work and I moved towards mindfulness teacher training, things began to happen. The more I fully allowed myself to give into and accept the process and let go of the need to be good at being mindful the more I began to notice myself, my thoughts, I found a new appreciation for my body and what it does. I was shocked at how horrible I was to myself. I could go on…. I now understand to be the process of embodying mindfulness and it really did and continues to have a positive impact on my life. It’s something that is very hard to explain in words best to experience through doing.  


So on reflection when I said Mindfulness with a small M I was referring to the skill of noticing myself, how I react and respond to myself with little effort in each day. This is something that felt very clunky (like learning to swim or drive) but now it just happens automatically.  Which seems small but it's actually very powerful. If you want the small M though you might need to go big first.  


Please let us know in the comments below how you practice Small M Mindfulness - I would love to hear about your experiences! 

About the author

Helen McGillivray has more than 25 years of clinical experience as a nurse and a BABCP accredited psychological therapist. Her career in both NHS and private practice focuses on delivering evidenced based psychological treatments to adults. She is a valued member of various professional bodies and sits on the board for the UK&ROI association of contextual and behavioural science. As OK Positive’s Clinical director she is responsible for ensuring the efficacy and application of the psychological tools and learning journey’s available to the users through the app and for overseeing research opportunities with relevant partners.

Please visit her website for more information and follow her on LinkedIn: 

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