Mindfulness- Definition, Techniques & Benefits

دوره: مدیریت استرس / فصل: Stress Management & Psychology / درس 12

Mindfulness- Definition, Techniques & Benefits

توضیح مختصر

Have you ever practiced an open awareness meditation called mindfulness? It can actually help a lot in daily life and even relieve some emotional and physical tension. Read about its ancient origins and modern psychological applications in this lesson.

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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation during which the attention is focused on mood, thoughts, physical sensations, and emotional experiences. Sometimes mindfulness is also called conscious attention practice. It is meant to reflect on the current state of the body and mind and to identify possible obstacles for physical and emotional well-being.

The term is a translation of the word Sati from the Pali language, which is Indian Sanskrit. It literally means mindfulness or awareness.

Mindfulness has been an essential part of Buddhist practice for over 2000 years. But in our time, a modern twist is given to this form of meditation and it is now widely applied during psychological consults and yoga sessions. Generally, therapists use mindfulness-based techniques to teach their patients to consciously deal with stress, disturbing thoughts, and unpleasant emotions. Sometimes it is also applied to reduce depression symptoms or prevent relapse. Because depression as a mental illness can have several causes, reducing symptoms is often not enough to treat the depression as a complex illness in itself, but it definitely helps to reduce the burden in everyday life.

Facing your problems in mindfulness meditation can help you deal with them

Mindfulness Training Courses

An American molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn started to study and apply mindfulness as attention training in his psychiatric practice in the late 1970s. He used mindfulness to develop an eight-week training called the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) . The MBSR method was found to be effective for reduction of stress, fear, and pain. Since then, many therapists have followed his method of applying mindfulness in therapy. Therefore we can say that Jon Kobat-Zinn re-kindled this ancient practice and made mindfulness popular again.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is another training course that also takes eight weeks and is similar to MBSR. However, MBCT is mainly used to reduce the chance of depression relapse, chronic pain, and phobias. The main difference between the MBSR and MBCT techniques is not in the content of the exercise but in the context in which they are applied. The essence of both training programs is that patients should consequently apply the techniques at home to learn how to perceive the reality with an open attitude.

Mindfulness In Practice

A common misassumption is that mindfulness is a kind of daydreaming. Rather, it teaches you to focus attention on your own body, breathing, senses, thoughts, and emotions in a given reality. Mindfulness can be practiced while sitting on a chair or lying down. The position is less relevant than feeling comfortable. It does not teach how to avoid stress or fear but rather teaches that those feelings are unavoidable and teaches how to deal with unpleasant occurrences.

Mindfulness helps you to embrace your emotions and deal with your thoughts

During a mindfulness session, you should try to stop the flow of thoughts by focusing on your breathing and relaxing your whole body. Then, depending on the session purpose, you should try to focus on how your different body parts are feeling (heavy or light, maybe painful etc.) or which thoughts come into your mind. Every time that your thoughts flow or physical sensations become intense, you should try to find your inner peace again by focusing on your breath. When you have managed to do that, you can continue with paying attention to your emotions and sensations again. This method aims to teach you how to stop the inner dialogue, emotional surges, or physical arousal by being aware of them.

Mindfulness Sessions

Mindfulness sessions can be done alone or in a group. Usually, during training, the session is led by a therapist or a teacher who guides you through the process with a calm voice. A teacher can tell you when to focus on your breathing, when to focus on sensations in a specific body part, when to move your attention further, and when to stop the thought flow and return your mind to your breathing. However, after some practice, mindfulness can also be performed by yourself or with an audio guide. The duration of the session can vary between five and twenty minutes depending on its purpose. Often after a mindfulness session, you will have a peaceful feeling.

You may be able to find a mindfulness training in your neighborhood or a free guide online. If you choose an online guide, make sure you choose the one that meets your needs. Often those sessions indicate the specific purpose: dealing with stress, managing fear, or resolving a difficult situation.

Lesson Summary

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that comes from 2000-year-old Buddhist practices. It teaches how to deal with emotions that are caused by stress, fear, or depression. Today mindfulness has been shown to be effective in dealing with several emotional and mental problems. And it also seems to work well for pain relief. Therefore it is widely applied in psychological practice to reduce symptoms and prevent relapses. Mindfulness is more than just a daydream activity. It does not teach how to avoid stress or other negative emotions. Instead, it teaches how to deal with them with an open attitude and awareness.

MBSR and MBCT are both mindfulness techniques that are used in psychological therapy. The content of the techniques and the training duration is similar, but they differ in the context in which they are applied. Where MBSR is often used for stress and pain reduction, MBCT is mainly used for chronic conditions. Mindfulness can be practiced in groups or individually. It can be guided by a therapist or an audio guide, or you can practice alone in full silence. The duration of a session varies depending on the problem it is meant to help with.

‘Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice ‘

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