Mindfulness in Psychotherapy
It is only too often that we find ourselves torn between ruminating about the past and worrying about the future, thus, missing the only reality that we have - the present. Mindfulness is simply the ability to be aware and awake in the present moment. It involves directing purposeful attention to the present moment, and watching it unfold, without judging it.
To be mindful is to be truly alive and present in whatever you are experiencing. Mindfulness therapy has been shown effective for a variety of physical and emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and eating disorders.
Benefits of mindfulness practice include developing the following qualities:
- Stability of mind
- Flexibility of mind
- Non-reactivity (acting instead of reacting)
Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation, as well as through everyday activities. We can stay harmoniously in the present by eating mindfully, walking mindfully, driving mindfully, washing the dishes mindfully, as well as by practicing mindfulness through any other activity. Mindfulness also teaches us to be fully present in interactions with others.
Most of my patients find the practice of mindfulness helpful in dealing with the issues they experience. Some benefit the most from integrating concepts of mindfulness with other treatment modalities, while others prefer to undergo the full mindfulness meditation training.
It is often advisable to use mindfulness practice in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT and MBCBT) and with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) when treating anxiety disorders, OCD and depression. Whatever your preference is, you will find that practicing mindfulness through meditation and everyday life activities will bring you a greater sense of well-being and profound positive changes in your life.
To supplement our sessions, I recommend the following mindful practices for you to do at home: