5 things I learned from Tracey Crouch: an MP who practices Mindfulness

Last week I got the chance to listen to Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylsford and junior minister for Sport and Civil Society, speak about, amongst other things, her personal mindfulness practice.

I was thrilled when she accepted the invitation to come and speak at a ‘mini mindfulness conference’ that we had put together at school.  The idea came to me to contact her when I heard Jamie Bristow speak warmly of her at the Mindful Living Show and she did not disappoint.  As I suspected the students really sat up and took notice of a high profile person telling them about the benefits of mindfulness.  They loved hearing her stories from Westminster too.

Once I had reminded myself to put my own political opinions to one side for a few hours, after all being non-judgemental is a key aspect of mindfulness, I was able to be open minded and open hearted about what she had to say.  Here are five of her main messages:

Being upfront about mental health is empowering … and mindfulness is a tool which can be used to help people combat issues

Tracey opened her talk by explaining how she had come to mindfulness.  Central to her story was a description of a conversation she’d had with her own GP about her severe depression and how mindfulness could help her come off her anti-depressants – something she wished to do.  Her honesty was disarming and immediately made the audience sit up.  Here was a highly successful person in the public eye frankly and openly discussing her own mental health.  And she was also a strong advocate of how mindfulness may help other people overcome these challenges, just as it had helped her.

Mindfulness isn’t complicated

Much of what Tracey spoke about when it came to mindfulness practice would be termed as ‘informal practice’  and this was very relatable for young people.   She described her approach to mindfulness as using it to ground herself in the present moment when walking to and from places, or doing other every day activities.  She espoused the benefits of really being present and taking in what is around you moment by moment – through sight, sound and touch.  She challenged the audience to try not to let the mind wander the next time they took a shower and instead to really pay attention to the sensations of the water.

Mindfulness can help deal with the nerves associated with public speaking

Though she spoke confidently and comfortably to her audience on a hot afternoon in July, Tracey disclosed that she is someone who doesn’t particularly like public speaking.  She explained how mindfulness has helped her with this.  And how taking her shoes off when making speeches from the backbenches in the House of Commons used to help her to feel more anchored in that moment and therefore handle her nerves more effectively.

Take your opportunities when you can

Though not explicitly about mindfulness, this section of her talk was still about being aware of moments that could be significant in your life and a good reminder to make the most of them.  She explained how her career path changed from trainee lawyer to parliamentary researcher when she had a chance conversation with a Conservative MP in university.  The old adage “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” certainly applied here and would have certainly inspired the students to grasp any opportunities that come their way.

Politicians probably need mindfulness more than ever

Though she didn’t labour this point, one gets the impression that the last few months are taking their toll on Westminster – Brexit, unstable party politics, the recent general election – they are all undoubtedly having a massive impact on the general public and also our politicians too.  These people have no media training, are thrown into the deep end when it comes to getting to grips with their job and are subjected to trolls on different social media platforms, as well as perhaps facing abuse in the street too.  And actually, when you consider it for a moment, not every MP (in fact in all probability fewer then we think) is your stereotypical public schoolboy who you feel probably has a background which should help them cope with the situation they find themselves in.  So the message is loud and clear, mindfulness can help politicians, as it can help anyone in a high pressure job, to cope with the day-to-day stresses that they find themselves facing.

I found Tracey’s talk interesting and inspiring.  I hope you get a sense of this from the post and can take some tips away from it too.

handwritten Hayley




  1. September 12, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    I came to mindfulness through my mental illness as well. I was looking for alternative methods of dealing because the medication I was on wasn’t working the way I had hoped. I first started with Tai Chi and Yoga which eventually led me to meditating with an app that I love. I find it so helpful, especially when I’m overwhelmed with many different things at once. #familyfunlinky

  2. September 16, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Oh I would have liked to have been in that sports hall. It sounds really interesting and as though there really was a lot to learn. I think it is really amazing that you are exposing the kids to this, the younger the better and hopefully it is just something that becomes part of their everyday! Thanks for sharing at #familyfun

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 17, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      Awww thanks so much for saying that about spreading the word in school – it was a lot of hard work to organise and I got very nervous about how it was going to go but you’re right it is worthwhile xx

  3. September 16, 2017 / 11:44 am

    This is very interesting and fabulous that she was open when talking about her mental health. I agree that mindfulness can help quite a lot with a high stress job or high stress situations. Your tips helped me out recently when I had to give a presentation that I was very nervous about. I focused on what I was saying and doing in the moment rather than letting my mind race ahead worrying about what people were thinking of me. x #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 17, 2017 / 9:46 pm

      Great – so pleased the tips have helped! Yes she was extremely refreshing in her honesty! xx

  4. May 26, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    You must be so pleased you invited her, sounds like she did a great job at engaging them and teaching them about mindfulness- I love that you say she was really honest and open about her experiences, I bet that really helped #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 28, 2018 / 8:21 pm

      It certainly did! Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  5. May 30, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    This is great. Tracy’s messages are really interesting and insightful. How nice that she agreed to come to school, and then talk so openly too. Brilliant. #thesatsesh

  6. May 30, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    #thesatsesh obvs im totes behind the mental health upfront discussion and mindfulness sparkles, but one issue i do have is that the services are so overstretched when people do reach out that at times, what they receive as support is dire. I’ve recently concluded in my own mind that this is the next step in improving our communities – better services, both voluntary and sustained by the tax payer. *Also, I don’t mind paying more tax IF it didn’t line the pockets of the wrong people. Sorry that become my own mini post rather than a comment

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 30, 2018 / 10:28 pm

      Don’t say sorry – you raise extremely important points. I wholeheartedly agree with you and feel despondent when students have reached out recently that I have very little to offer them in terms of next steps…. Xx

  7. May 30, 2018 / 8:37 pm

    #thesatsesh Thank you for sharing all of this insight with us! Love it! And if we can get anyone started with mindfulness, let it be mr t! Argh….

    • onamindfulmummymission
      May 30, 2018 / 10:26 pm

      If only….. xx

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