MPs and members of the House of Lords are taking part in weekly “Mindfulness” classes inside Parliament, designed to help them deal with stress, anxiety or depression.
One politician said: “I knew I had to do something about stress and work life balance – Mindfulness never crossed my mind till I discovered the course and it is working for me.”
Another said that after attending a class “I even managed to sleep well that night”.
So far 185 MPs and peers (members of the House of Lords) have taken part in the eight-week course.
Weekly sessions are held in Portcullis House, which is part of the House of Commons.
They’re organised by the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Labour MP Chris Ruane and Conservative MP Tim Loughton, a former education minister.
The programme is taught by the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, which states on its website: “If you are feeling generally ‘dissatisfied’ with your life, have a sense of ‘missing out’ on moments of pleasure and joy, or are experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood or recurrent depression, this course could help you.”
Mr Ruane and Mr Loughton have now emailed staff working for MPs and peers inviting them to take part in a course. The email is also signed by sports minister Tracy Crouch.
The email states: “185 Parliamentarians and 250 Staff members have so far attended this course, which consists of eight sessions of 75 minutes. Whilst it’s beneficial to attend all eight sessions, it is certainly understood that this may not always be possible.”
And it contains anonymous testimonials from “some of the 185 MPs and Peers who have attended Mindfulness Classes in Parliament in recent years”, saying how much the course has helped them.
One politician said: “The Mindfulness breathing techniques and practical exercises have helped me to cope much better with the stresses and strains of a highly demanding job and gain a better work-life balance.”
Another said: “The course empowered me to reframe my life from insurmountable pressures and problems to tackling issues in proportion and finding an inner calm – restoring quality to every day.”
And another testimonial stated: “The classes have provided an oasis of calm and have sowed precious seeds… I would strongly recommend the course to anyone who believes that there is more to life than the next speech!”
Staff are told the lessons are free, and they are invited to make a donation to charity if they attend.