Mindfulness training is being used at a Scottish prison to help the inmates ditch the cigarettes, with an eight-week course in the increasingly popular practice looking at areas including thoughts, emotions and kindness, while simultaneously helping people get over their cravings.

Official statistics have revealed that over 70 per cent of prisoners in Scotland smoke and the Scottish Prison Service is now determined to make the jails in the country completely smoke-free, although some critics believe that their attention should be drawn elsewhere, the Daily Express reports.

One inmate, speaking after finishing the mindfulness course, said: “I didn’t really expect anything but the meditation has given me a better sense of wellbeing.” This is something that resonates with us as it is something that our students of mindfulness also comment on.

Commenting on this development, John Lamont, Tory chief whip, suggested that work and education should be the focus for prisoners and this would in turn help them to cut down on smoking, as they’d have less time to do it.

While mindfulness may be being used in this case to tackle smoking addiction, it has other added benefits as well, such as increasing confidence and self-esteem, and reducing stress levels – which are undoubtedly very high for those in prison.

If you’d like to try mindfulness for yourself this year, start with some very easy breathing exercises. Simply focus on your breathing for a minute, slowly breathing in and out and holding your breath while counting to six, then breathe out again slowly. The purpose is to help anchor you in the present and to stop you from worrying too much – which we’re certainly all guilty of from time to time.