Our brains can too easily switch into anxiety mode, anger mode or self-critical mode. Feelings come and go in waves. We can’t normally switch them on or off. When we learn to observe difficult emotions with kindness and compassion for ourselves, it’s easier to behave the way we want to. Which in turn makes it easier to feel that we’re living life well.

Rather than seeing certain emotions as unbearable, we can develop curiosity for what they actually look like, feel like from moment to moment. When we’re not tensing up around a difficult emotion, when we expand awareness and open up to feeling all there is to be felt, there is room for serenity and a new way of behaving in response to old triggers.

Extensive clinical trials point towards regularly practised mindfulness as an effective treatment for anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia.