How UK Politicians Are Learning to Disagree—More Agreeably

In the often heated, sometimes chaotic halls of the UK Parliament, scholars, thinkers, politicians, and policy-makers have been weaving in threads of mindfulness. The result: not a change in ideologies but a shift toward more positive and productive relationships across parties.

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Just imagine for a moment a room full of politicians from opposing government parties, sitting in the same room together, in silence, meditating. It’s hard to fathom such a vision in a time of worldwide political upheaval, punctuated by war, social media scandals, and a climate emergency. In the United Kingdom, however, this image has become a reality. While not a remedy for all problems—simple or complex, political or personal—mindfulness has gained government support in the UK in an effort to help politicians manage their stress levels, regulate their emotions, and improve their overall well-being, as well as that of their constituents.

Mindfulness first made its way into the historic halls of Westminster—the building complex where both Houses of Parliament meet—in 2013, when 22 cross-party members from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords (think House of Representatives and Senate in the United States, but in the UK, House of Commons is an elected body and House of Lords is appointed) attended an information session about a course on mindfulness. Sitting in an oak-paneled room on squeaky wooden chairs assembled in a semi-circle, with a large window looking out onto the Thames River,…


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About the author

Caren Osten Gerszberg

Caren is a writer and certified positive psychology life coach. She works with individuals and groups, helping clients find balance, resilience, and positivity during transitions and challenging times. A contributor to publications, such as The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Mindful, Caren’s articles cover health and wellbeing, mindfulness and education. Learn more about her work at