You probably hear the term “mindfulness” used by different people however you may not know what it means. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
Mindfulness is a quality that we all possess. It is not something you have to pull out of thin air but rather you may need to learn how to access it.
There are many types of mindfulness practice. While mindfulness is within us, it can also be grown through practice. Some examples include:
1. Seated, walking, standing, and moving mediation. Some people are familiar with mediation from yoga and lying down.
2. Mindfulness exercises can include short pauses we insert into everyday life to bring about awareness and learn to be present in the moment
3. Merging meditation practice with other activities is becoming more common place
The Benefits of Mindfulness Practice:
When you practice mindfulness exercises, you can reduce stress, grow awareness and insight and lead to improving our wellbeing and those around us. Mindfulness gives us time to leave judgement of others and judgment of ourselves. This allows the workings of our mind to expand and fill with acceptance, kindness and self-love. This awareness expands outwards and can help improve relationships both in our personal and pubic lives.
8 Facts About Mindfulness:
- Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
- Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
- You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re have not failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
- Mindfulness can the way we think and act socially and even globally.
- Just about anyone can do it – even children! Mindfulness practice helps cultivate universal human qualities. The practice does not require anyone to change their belief systems.
- It’s a way of living. Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better.
- It is evidence-based. Science and experience are documents by many and demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships.
- It sparks creativity and allows us to become focused on what tasks are at hand and filter out the “noise” around us.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that incorporates principles of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being, where one is fully present in the moment and does not judge or react to their thoughts and emotions. The mindfulness practice that is emphasized in MBCT is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation helps people realize that though emotions may arise and self doubt and negativity can enter, clients can see that not always are you your thoughts.
Another main component of MBCT is cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely utilized form of psychotherapy and is typically used to treat anxiety disorders and depression. It focuses on the relationship between one’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with an ultimate goal of changing behavior. The guiding principle of CBT is that our thoughts influence our feelings which influence our behavior, so to change our behavior, we must first change our thoughts.
The combined principles of mindfulness and CBT can effectively teach clients how to prevent negative thoughts or emotions from triggering a deeper negative self-belief or act upon any harmful behaviors. The mindfulness principles and practices, such as meditation, taught during MBCT sessions helps clients change their relationship with these potential triggers. They then can experience negative thoughts without letting them majorly influence their emotions and behaviors. It helps alter one’s thought process so that they do not immediately have a negative emotional response to potentially triggering situations such as cutting, eating disorders, and addictions.
By learning alternative strategies to handle stressors, life quality can improve. Mindfulness techniques can be learning in a variety of settings. When used in conjunction with talk therapy, clients often report having long term benefits. When choosing a therapist, it is wise to ask if they incorporate mindfulness into their practice with clients. If you do find a mental health professional who incorporates mindfulness into their therapy work, you will see great benefits that can last well beyond the therapy sessions.
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© 2023 by Stacey Inal, CA LMFT #120626 Los Angeles, California.