What Is Mindfulness Therapy?
Visualize yourself trying to meditate, but you keep getting distracted. For some reason, you can’t zero in on your breath while thoughts keep running through your mind. After a couple of seconds, you hear your inner voice saying, “Why am I unable to sit still and focus? What is wrong with me? Am I even doing this right?”
This is where Mindfulness comes into play. Mindfulness allows us to hear that voice, recognize it, and analyze where it may be coming from. When we begin to understand what this voice is and where it comes from, just like a cloud in the sky, we can let it drift by and return our attention to our breath.
Mindfulness therapy is a popular approach to therapy that involves helping clients to be more aware and considerate of their thoughts in the present moment. This form of therapy does not focus on unwinding or relaxing, rather, the emphasis is on expanding our awareness of the thoughts, emotions, and actions that make relaxation difficult. Once we get a hold of that, we can engage with those parts of ourselves, figure out how to change our language, and choose how to react. It is important to keep an open mind in order to get the most out of this technique.
How Does Mindfulness Therapy Work?
When you are doing mindfulness meditation, an expert practitioner will guide you to focus on the present moment. While this is not always easy to do, as our minds continuously wander, the practitioner will instruct you to accept your wandering thoughts without judgement. Further, the expert might also tell you to notice where your mind went and why, before bringing it back to the present moment.
How Does Mindfulness Therapy Help?
Daily practice of mindfulness therapy is a good way to help deal with anxiety. Although mindfulness is not a cure-all for anxiety, it certainly helps in reducing physiological symptoms that one experiences such as muscle tension, elevated heart rate, and lightheadedness.
Mindfulness helps a great deal if you are able to
1) practice daily meditation and,
2) actively look for opportunities to apply this self-awareness in your daily life
Mindful Therapy Techniques
If you are practising alone, using a timer would be ideal. Meditation does not need to go on for a long time; in fact, if you are a beginner, start with 1 to 2 minutes and work your way up each day. The idea of starting small essentially reduces the barriers when forming a new habit.
One way to start incorporating mindfulness into your daily life is to practice little five-second meditations throughout the day. For example, when you are stuck in traffic, or having an evening cup of tea, or getting ready for bed, take a moment to reflect. These five seconds may seem small, but can have a tangible effect on reducing the buildup of anxiety during the day.
Techniques as simple as breathing help wonderfully in gaining control when you feel anxious or stressed. For example, belly breathing is a type of practice that you can do. Place a hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Then, inhale, filling your belly with air, pushing your hand out. Allow your breath to fill your lungs, pushing out the hand on your chest. Finally, exhale slowly. As you progress, you can choose to hold your breath for a while and exhale.
Guided imagery, also known as creative visualization, is another type of mindfulness. This practice involves bringing to mind, through images, the words one hears. There are numerous ways in which one can practice with or without an expert.
Written by Sithumini Caldera