What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of psychotherapy that helps train your mind to be attentive to the present moment with an open and accepting attitude. It can provide a new perspective or insight on challenges of daily life bringing about a seemingly effortless positive change in emotional patterns and habitual reactions leading to improved health and overall sense of wellbeing.
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?
The results of several research studies suggest the regular practice of mindfulness provides multiple benefits including:
- Better handling of stressful situations
- Improved memory
- Increased concentration
- Better emotional stability
- Improved cognitive ability
- Increased compassion and empathy
- Better relationship satisfaction
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improved sleep
- Reduced chronic pain symptoms
- Improved digestion
- Increased self-confidence
Who can Benefit from Mindfulness Therapy?
Mindfulness therapy may be beneficial for individuals suffering with:
- Chronic depression
- Bipolar disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Couples conflicts
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Low mood and unhappiness
Types of Mindfulness Techniques
There are different types of mindfulness exercises. They can be performed while sitting quietly by yourself or while going for a walk or performing household chores. These include:
- Mindfulness of breathing: This technique involves simply observing your natural breathing and/or repeating a word or phrase as you inhale and exhale. If you become aware of distracting thoughts, simply redirect your mind to your breathing as many times as necessary throughout the duration of the therapy session.
- Mindfulness of body sensations: This technique involves becoming aware of subtle sensations such as a tingling or an itch anywhere on your body from head to toe and letting the sensation pass on its own.
- Mindfulness of external sensory input: This technique involves becoming aware of things in your environment through all your senses – sounds, smells, sights, taste, and touch.
- Mindfulness of emotions: This technique involves becoming aware of emotions in the mind such as anger, sadness, joy, or frustration, accepting them as they are without judgement, and letting them subside of their own accord.
- Mindfulness of urges or cravings: This technique involves becoming aware of urges or cravings as they arise, not trying to fight the cravings but understanding their transitory nature and allowing them to pass without acting on these urges.
Getting Started with Mindfulness Therapy
You can start practicing mindfulness by yourself for about 15-20 minutes every day by choosing any of the above techniques most suitable to you or you can enroll in a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program conducted by a trained mental health provider who will be able to assess your condition and guide you through the program to give you the best results.