Skip to content

Mindtrip Monthly Reflections Newsletter


mindtrip reflections of ideas, thoughts, hints and tips and book recommendations focused around building a flourishing work environment.

How can mindfulness help in the classroom?

November 7th, 2017

Heather Johnston

A short video with Jon Kabat-Zinn about why mindfulness is so important in the classroom ( first 3 minutes talks specifically to the classroom)

Interested in finding out bringing mindfulness to your school? I offer dotbfoundations or MBSR/MBCT 8 week pre-requisite courses for teachers in the Essex/Suffolk area and also can train the pawsb course for 7-11 year olds. Find out more about these courses at the mindfulness in schools website 

Want to hear a bit more? Listen to Richard Burnett, who designed the dotb course for teenagers (20 minutes)


It’s not what you do it is how you do it or the 9 attitudes of mindfulness

April 19th, 2017

Heather Johnston

Have a listen to what Jon Kabat-Zinn has to say about practicing mindfulness in sitting practice or in everyday life. There is a first introductory video and then Jon goes on to talk about the following attitudes which he discussed in his book Full Catastrophe Living:

Non Judging   Patience  Beginners’s mind  Trust  Non Striving  Acceptance  Letting Go  Gratitude and Generosity


…and this compilation seems to have missed acceptance!


Introducing Heartfulness- Balanced Mind: Kind Mind Course

April 11th, 2017

Heather Johnston

IMG_4534As many of you are aware, over the last year I have been doing some additional mindfulness training focused on friendship (or loving kindness) and compassion practices. I am now one of the first 20 or so people trained in this new course in the UK while it has been running for a longer time in Europe! I have personally gained so much from these practices- a greater feeling of happiness, a way of self soothing when things get tough and for those of us in the caring and helping professions a way of dealing with the possibilities of burnout from empathy fatigue.

I am running the course in 2 parts, before and after the summer hols. Designed as either a stand alone course or as a continuation from other mindfulness courses. This course centres around developing kindness, compassion and self compassion, joy and equanimity. Our best homes.

The material is developed from the work of Sharon Salzberg, Paul Gilbert and Erik van den Brink (mindfulness based compassionate living). It is underpinned with the latest research into affective and social neuroscience and what we need to build a happy healthy mind. This is complemented with the latest from positive psychology and the long lineage of metta meditation. Which means loving kindness or friendship.

The course is particularly helpful to those that care for others, both in a professional and non professional capacity. Helping us find balance, nourish and develop kindness and compassion for ourselves and others

Course Outline

Each course focuses on eight key themes, all interlinking and building each week through home practice.

Session 1: Our three emotional regulation systems

Session 2: Stress reactions and self compassion

Session 3: Our inner patterns (your internal voice)

Session 4: Compassion

Session 5: Our relationship with ourself and others

Session 6: Our common humanity and happiness for all

Session 7: Heartfulness in daily life

Session 8: Self healing and compassion

Self directed, choice based home practise is an integral part of the course, as it enables you to establish the skills that you are learning and apply them and see the benefits in your daily life. Participants are encouraged to be kind with themselves in finding a way to make heartfulness practise work for them.

Benefits of kindness, compassion and self compassion

Loving-kindness meditation was best in increasing positively valenced and other- focused thought and was the only practice to positively link thoughts of self and others.

The following was adapted from the Greater Good’s article on the top 10 insights of the science of a meaningful life:

A German study led by Tania Singer, recruited novice meditators to participate in a nine-month mindfulness training. They learned four different types of meditation: breathing meditation, body scan, loving-kindness meditation, and observing-thought meditation. In the end, the researchers found some common benefits: During every type of meditation, participants reported feeling more positive emotions, more energetic, more focused on the present, and less distracted by thoughts than they did before beginning—perhaps thanks to the attention training that’s common to all meditation. Loving-kindness meditation led to the greatest boost in their feelings of warmth and positive thoughts about others.

How much, When and Where?

I am currently focusing on my work within organisations. If you are interested in bringing mindfulness and/or compassion practices to your workplace do get in contact.

To undertake this course it is useful to have some grounding in mindfulness meditation…or the course can be taken as a standalone or deepening and expanding the meditation experience developed through other mindfulness courses such as MBSR or MBCT.

Who should attend mindfulness courses?

Mindfulness is generally available to most people, however for some it may be best to be trained by someone with a specific clinical qualification (such as those with an acute mental health condition).

For some people challenges can arise while meditating for a number of different reasons. While each of us is different, If you are going through a major life event (such as having been recently bereaved or divorced) or suffering from mental ill health (eg acute depression) have a learning disability or have just been diagnosed with an upsetting physical illness (eg cancer) it is best to wait and leave attending a course until life is a little more settled for you or find a course that is more specialised to your particular needs. This can be discussed with Heather and it is for this reason why we ask everyone to fill in a course screening form so that we can best support your needs or help you to find someone who can.

The course is not designed to discuss any current or past personal problems not related to the practises and if necessary, these should be pursued through individual work with a counsellor or other appropriate support.

My training

Heather has undertaken two MBSR/MBCT teacher training retreats (TTR 1&2) with the Centre for mindfulness and research practice at the University of Bangor, one of the leaders in the field for mindfulness in the UK, along with advanced mindfulness training course in mindfulness based compassionate living and further training in deep listening. Some of the people that have trained Heather include: Michael Chaskalson, Trish Bartley, Jody Mardula, Sarah Silverton, Erik van den Brink, Ros Oliver, Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter. She has also attended masterclasses with: Profs Paul Gilbert, Tania Singer and Associate Professor Kristin Neff. See my bio here.

What’s the most important minute in your life?

February 17th, 2017

Heather Johnston

The very early signs of Spring are in the air and in this issue of Spring Reflections I wanted to use the garden as a metaphor to explore the wellbeing of you, your staff and your organisation.
So how does your garden grow? 
Gardens are complex ecosystems that need tending and care to keep them looking at their best. There are many shapes, sizes and styles of gardens and each need tailored care to their own specific needs. Keeping the garden healthy, flourishing and in tune with the wider environment needs constant attention.

On a personal level we can relate this garden analogy to our minds. How much attention are you paying to how healthy your mind is? Do you do a few overhauls a year or some steady tending week by week? Dr Rick Hanson uses the garden analogy as a useful metaphor to explore how we might build healthy minds to support us in our life today:

What would you like to let be?
What needs weeding? (let go)
What extra nourishment and sowing do we need to provide? (let in)
How we perform our day to day work and how we experience our life is very much driven by how healthy our minds are- are the weeds out of control or are we feeling truly nourished and happy?

This analogy obviously also works with organisations too, how is your ecosystem thriving? What might you need to GROW?

Backed up by the latest research on neuroplasticity, taking in the good, mind training, kindness and compassion I can work with individuals, teams and organisations to help to add a bit of fertiliser and/or help you tend a few weeds. So if you fancy a different take on your standard staff training programs, coaching, or team development then do give me a call. I can offer off the shelf and tailored interventions focused around

Staff wellbeing, strengths and happiness
Leadership and management development
Team Development
Coaching and Supervisory skills
Mind training for attention, creativity and self care for adults and children
Compassion and kindness interventions
Creative arts

So if you are an individual, blue chip organisation, small business, charity, school or government organisation I may have something to help. All prices are tailored to sector and ability to pay. Curious?


Got some questions?  Then please do get in touch to explore on 07801 246113 or via email

Know someone that this may interest?… Then please do forward this mail with the links below…

It would be lovely to reconnect with those that I haven’t spoken to for a while even if you don’t have an immediate need!

Nourishing the good

December 21st, 2016

Heather Johnston

Wellbeing, compassion and nourishing the positive is going to be the focus of my offering for 2017. I’m 2/3 of the way through my teacher training course on mindfulness based compassionate living which embodies the work of Paul
Gilbert, Kristen Neff, Rick hanson and Barbara Frederickson to name a few. Not to mention the eastern contemplative traditions of Tibetan Buddhism as practised by the Dalai lama and Matthieu Ricard. It’s going to be a good year!

See more about the differences between compassion, loving kindness and mindfulness in this article written by Richie Davidson here

mindfulness MBSR course reported participant benefits

November 30th, 2016

Heather Johnston

I have been tracking informally over the year participants feedback at the end of the course as to how they feel different as a result of taking the course…While not hugely scientific it is useful to hear what past participants have said. All feedback was collected anonymously as a tick box questionnaire !

100% of people feel more aware

92% of people feel more in touch with themselves

84% felt less anxious

81% felt less stressed

76% of people felt better about themselves and

75% felt more contented

other stats included 66% of people reporting feeling less hijacked by negative moods, 64% appreciate life more and 66% felt their relationships had improved with others

So what are you waiting for? Next course starts 21st April 2017 ! Taster session 10th March 2017. Find out more here


Day of silence Feedback

November 21st, 2016

Heather Johnston

Some lovely feedback from my day of silence at the weekend (November 2016) at Wormingford community education centre. Next day of silence, open to all that have attended an MBSR or MBCT class will be Saturday March 18th. 9.30-3.30:

‘Thankyou for such an interesting and enlightening day. A perfect venue and location. I’d certainly do it again to build on what i have learnt from you’

‘Wormingford is the perfect place to practice mindfulness. Being here in the Autumn we were flooded with colour against the crisp blue sky. The room has beautiful views outdoors and you don’t have to walk far to feel fully engaged in nature.

The day of silence i came away feeling free, calm and at peace. I hadn’t appreciated how much i needed to slow down’

‘A wonderful day being with myself and nature. Carefully and thoughtfully guided. A real pleasure. I’m grateful I’ve been to do it and for the beautiful surroundings’

‘Wormingford is a lovely spot with beautiful views within a short walk, very peaceful. To subside into silence for several hours is a luxury we rarely afford ourselves and brings relaxation of mind and body. A lovely day refreshing old practices and introducing new ones.’

‘A very good day for me, I valued the time outside, gaining the contrast of feeling cold air and then the warmth of sunshine. A world full of colour, rustling leaves and soggy darker leaves under your feet…time thoughts unconsciously evaporating…everything inside was also of great value, the mindfulness practices and i also really stop and listen to the special poems being read. A good day that I can draw on.’

Art, Nature and Mindfulness Day- November 26th @016

October 23rd, 2016

Heather Johnston


Art, Nature and Mindfulness Day

p1130136loPlease join me of a truly special day exploring both our inner and outer landscape…on Saturday 26th November 2016

Held at Wormingford Community Education Centre, a former primary school located in the peace and tranquility of the rolling Stour Valley- an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The day will start with a short intro and taster to mindfulness practice and how it can enhance our creativity and response to what we see, feel and sense followed by getting outside (in all weathers!) to experience the local landscape.

We will then take this experience back to the Centre for you to work and develop your own piece of work/s as a response.

To make the most of the Autumn light the day will run from 9.30-4pm. £65

The day is limited to 8 places. Tea and Coffee facilities are provided but please bring your own lunch, art materials and suitable walking gear for all weathers. A suggested list of what to bring will be sent closer to the day.

Heather is a colourist, painting expressive nature based paintings inspired by a mindful sense of place. She is a mindfulness practitioner, a coach and learning and development consultant; running mindfulness courses on the Essex/Suffolk Border.

Mindfulness Course Participant Testimonials

March 30th, 2016

Heather Johnston

Having previously run successful Mindfulness courses at the Colchester Institute you may recognise some of these testimonials…Participants come from all walks of life and include stay at home mums, electricians, Doctors, school teachers, counsellors, social workers, pastoral leads and various business professionals!


It has given me strength of mind and i will use and adapt what i have been learning into my everyday life

Course Participant

I feel that the course has been very good for me at a time when things are and have been difficult in my work and home life. 


Not at all ” wee-woo” ! My partner says I’m happier and calmer. 

This course is to be recommended for people with a chronic illness. Connecting the mind and body and facilitates health and self care.

Course Participant

I really enjoyed it,  nice subject, nice people and nice experience. Its made me aware of me, what i do and what i am. 


It has helped me to meditate without fear of not doing it right!


Even entrenched bad habits can be broken! Give it a go! These courses can help bring a more balanced and calm attitude to life and may help you break lifelong bad habits.


Very useful and practical and has helped me awaken my creative and curious personality. Thank you Heather!! 

I would highly recommend this course to everyone, as even the most practical person still can use time to be more mindfully aware in giving your grey matter some time out for a workout.


This mindfulness course has really opened up my path of self development and brings about a more positive way of being in the World


This course was just what I needed at this point in my life. It has been enlightening and life changing and helped me focus and learn what being mindful really means. The course has helped me get to know myself and be kind and compassionate to myself

Much needed in a stressful world. A way of finding yourself and staying sane.


A valuable journey of self discovery. I am less stressed, have less back pain, have more acknowledgement/understanding of self, more time for self and the here and now is what matters


I have really enjoyed  coming to the course and practicing with others and being lead. It has made me allocate time to press the ‘reset’ button!


Has helped me to ‘untangle’ my brain! Am more aware of when i am on autopilot or not fully in the present- better able to change this

Marion ( Hospital Doctor)

I would definitely recommend to others and would say it is essential in looking after oneself in a nourishing way. Helps to cope with the stresses of life. 

Maggie (Counsellor)

The course has offered the real opportunity for me to think about myself, learn about myself and take care of myself. The course has supported me to  start to break down the barriers that i have built up over the years as a false protection of myself


Some further comments on Heather’s facilitation style in the mindfulness sessions:

Very concise, useful course in the way it was delivered. Given in a way that did not overload or overwhelm when embarking on a personal course. Also delivered very creatively, Thank you.

 Heather, you hold the space during the sessions wonderfully. You bring a very calm open approach to each session which aids learning about oneself

Thankyou for being kind, non judgemental, warm and empathetic. A satisfying learning environment that has allowed me the space to grow.

Well paced, 4 sessions works well despite being designed as eight sessions. Felt we were all given time to have our say

Really enjoyed your welcoming non-judgemental approach.

Found Heather, relaxing, supportive and knowledgeable. Already believing in what she does.

Heather really gave all that she could whilst facilitating the course, including all of us in the group.

CDs are excellent. Heather is a very patient, reflective person. Managed the class with kindness.

I have enjoyed everything Heather has done on the course giving me space to notice in my own time and way.

What a lovely soothing voice. Went at a good pace. Running over more weeks has almost certainly helped to embed it.

Her teaching is very clear. She has a compassionate authority. Her advice about breaking rules and doing what feels personally ok has really helped me during the course and will encourage me in the future

Heather was always non-judgemental and was able to capture and share difficult experiences that we may have been having.

Navigating mindfulness

March 29th, 2016

Heather Johnston


New course for January 2018 here

Mindfulness is very much ‘in vogue’ at the moment and it can be difficult to decide what course or method is right for you; or if you are an Organisation which provider might be the best fit. In this post I wanted to highlight a few things to help you make your choices clearer.

Read more

%d bloggers like this: