What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about trying to remain ‘in the moment’: concentrating on what is happening in the here and now, rather than being pulled in to worrying about the past or future. With the bustle or work and life pulling us along from one task to the next, it can be difficult to take the time to focus on your surroundings, body, and emotional experiences. Mindfulness can be helpful  for finding that time and remaining in touch with ourselves, to the benefit of our mental health and wellbeing.

How can it benefit a money adviser?

Studies have found that mindfulness can confer many benefits, including helping to improve resilience, manage stress, and nurture self-awareness and understanding. MAS knows from our research that advisers often feel overwhelmed and not in control of aspects of their work. Almost one in four advisers struggle to switch off from work often or all the time. Mindfulness can be beneficial for all of these issues.

When feeling overwhelmed, mindfulness can help one to feel more stable and centred. It can also help with the other feelings that can come with being overwhelmed, such as panic or the sense of not knowing where to begin. Imagining yourself as something strong and impervious to the winds of emotion or demand, or reminding yourself that you are capable and able to face the challenge, are both types of mindful practice that can help you feel calmer and more directed.

Many aspects of an adviser’s work are not entirely within their control. Every-day things like how many people need the service, whether a client brings the required paperwork, or how a creditor responds to an offer, are all to varying extents beyond an adviser’s control. Mindfulness can be a useful tool for dealing with the stress this can cause. Part of mindfulness includes recognising and accepting emotions as they arise which can improve self-awareness. This can be useful for helping us to recognise how we are responding to a situation and exert control over our own reactions, and can make it easier to remain grounded and calm in circumstances that we can’t control.

Switching off is a struggle for many advisers, who may find that work follows them into their evenings or weekends. The emphasis in mindfulness on remaining in the present moment can be really helpful in this kind of situation. It can help us to exert more conscious control over our thoughts, and many mindful meditations include learning to acknowledge, accept and dismiss unwanted thoughts. This can be a useful skill to cultivate as it means that if a worry or unwanted thought arises about work, it can be easier to notice and move on from that rather than dwelling upon it.

Practicing mindfulness

There are lots of ways to fit mindfulness into your day, for example through setting a time each day at which you will notice what is going on around you and inside you, or taking a moment to notice a particular sensation you are experiencing. Activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or even a nature walk can all be ways to help you practice mindfulness.

A 20-second mindful practice is the STOP exercise, and you can do it at any time:

Stop what you are doing, and commit to taking a quiet moment

Take a breath, concentrating on the feeling of the breath as it moves through your body – in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth

Observe what is going on around or within you: what are you seeing, hearing, touching? Or what emotions are you experiencing?

Proceed – continue with your day having taken some time to recentre


This article is a companion to our e-learning module, Mindfulness Break. The module takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be returned to at any time. The module also contains further resources for mindfulness.