Mindfulness refers to bringing awareness to the present moment, and paying attention non-judgementally to your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physical sensations, which in turn reduces distress while enriching your life.
When we don’t pay attention to the present moment, we go through life relatively absentmindedly, worrying about our pressures, responsibilities, relationships, dwelling on the past or planning. We often spend a lot of time wishing things to be different from how they are right now.
Mindfulness involves actively turning our attention to the present moment and becoming aware of what is unfolding. Mindfulness involves paying attention to whatever we are doing while we are doing it, and whatever we are experiencing while we are experiencing it. This leads to increased awareness and acceptance of thoughts and emotions without judgement rather than trying to debate, analyse or avoid them.
Mindfulness teaches you to slow down and calm your mind, to let go of worries and negative thinking, and calms strong emotions.
Mindfulness-based approaches are intended to teach people practical skills that can help with physical and psychological health problems and on-going life challenges. It combines ancient Buddhist practices and philosophy of mindfulness, with modern Psychology. All mindfulness approaches has no religious aspect to it. The two main approaches that have been developed in recent years are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and have evidence based.
Mindfulness is a core skill that is integrated into Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for depression:
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is designed to help people who suffer from repeated bouts of depression. MBCT is a combination of cognitive therapy and meditation. MBCT helps you to become aware of your thoughts and teaches you to let go of these thoughts that usually tend to keep us depressed. The evidence base on MBCT shows that it can halve the relapse rate in recovered patients with three or more episodes of depression (Piet J, Hougaard E, 2011) MBCT has been endorsed by NICE guidelines for prevention on relapse of depression.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Anxiety and Stress:
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was devised by Jon Kobat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre for people suffering from a variety of physical and psychological illnesses. MBSR has become a part of a newly recognised field of integrative medicine within behavioural medicine and general health care. The evidence base on MBSR shows significant positive effect sizes with participants with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, cancer and anxiety.
How Mindfulness Can Help:
Mindfulness teaches you to clear your mind and let go of racing thoughts. It helps you to find a new perspective to problems you’ve been struggling with, allowing you to find alternatives and healthier ways of responding to problems.
Mindfulness increases awareness of what is going on in the present moment, allowing you to acknowledge and attend to things as they are happening, rather than letting them build until they become overwhelming.
Mindfulness can bring calmness and help you to develop a deeper connection to yourself and those around you. This in turn leads to numerous health benefits including improving sleep, concentration and energy levels, lowering blood pressure, improving stomach and digestive problems.
- ”The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness’’(2007) by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal & Jon Kobat-Zinn.
- ”Mindfulness: A Practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’’ (2011). By Mark Williams & Danny Penman.