Mindfulness is the practice of focusing attention on the present experience in a way that is non-judgmental, and such as “mindfulness and awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding area through a gentle nurturing lens”. (GreaterGood.Berkeley.edu).
There are various ways to utilize Mindfulness in therapeutic approaches. However, they are all grounded in the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness can be considered the capacity to be “mind-full,” to notice one’s thoughts, actions, beliefs, feelings, bodily sensations, and to be able through “noticing,” to learn to pause, to breathe, to contemplate next course of action. To take a mindful pause allows one to consider: is this feeling or sensation or thought that I am noticing of this moment or is it fueled by experiences of the past? Mindfulness has been shown to be useful with anxiety, parenting, depression, trauma, relationships, and other mental health issues.
Mindfulness therapy can support the learning of how to pay attention to these experiences (thoughts, beliefs, feelings, sensations, experiences) but without becoming influenced by them or judging them.” We can learn to control our thoughts rather then being controlled by them.”
What is Mindfulness Therapy?
There are various types of mindfulness therapy practices with roots in Vipassana and Zen Meditations, these include Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR, John Kabat-Zinn); Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT, Marsha Linehan); Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT, Hayes, Wilson, Strosahl); and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT, Segal, Williams, Teasdale). Mindfulness work in therapy can consist of therapist using guided meditations to focus on the present moment, or a sensory experience or a calm or peaceful place. Mindfulness and Meditation are not the same thing. Clients are supported to practice non-judgmental attitudes towards self during these practices. Mindfulness can help reregulate emotional surges and can be practiced during therapy sessions as clients begin to explore painful memories or issues. Practices can consist of breathing exercise, body scans, and guided imagery. Often therapists encourage mindfulness practices in daily life.
Mindfulness helps individuals learn to pause and separate from their thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and decrease stressful reactions and gain emotional healing.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including:
- Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
- Less negative thinking and distraction
- Improved mood