What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of being present to our experience from moment to moment. In doing this, we become more aware of, and open to the richness of each moment—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. It cultivates awareness, acceptance, and compassion to bring us more fully into our lives.
So often our minds are focused on a time and place far away from where we actually are. Regrets about the past and worries about the future can hijack our attention and energy from our present experience at any moment. When this happens, we are actually missing our life as it unfolds in the present. In these moments, we fail to be active participants in our lives.
When we practice mindfulness, rather than struggling to escape or suppress distressing experiences, thoughts or feelings, we stay present and open to the moment—the good, bad, and the ugly—and begin to tolerate whatever is going on, without becoming overwhelmed. This presence in our lives can hugely influence how we relate and respond, to ourselves and to others. When we can learn to offer awareness, acceptance, and compassion to our internal experience and to the world around us, we begin to live our lives and relationships in ways more congruent with who we really are and what is really important to us.
What is Mindfulness focused therapy?
Therapy often holds the intention of exploring the unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaviour that keep us stuck. In doing so, it helps to cultivate awareness and insight, assisting us to identify more effective ways to deal with the daily and larger life stressors that arise, while empowering us to make changes that move us toward a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
Mindfulness offers a great complement to this intention by helping us slow down our thoughts, quiet the distractions, and get to know the non-stop chatter that tends to occupy and dominate our minds. From this more calm and spacious mind, we become more open to hearing our own inner wisdom, gaining a fresh perspective and understanding of ourselves, our lives, our relationships, and the issues we are struggling with.
Who can benefit from Mindfulness focused therapy?
Anyone can benefit from being more awake and present to the moments of our lives, without wishing for things to be different. Whether it is a particular issue we are struggling with, or a general sense of disconnection or dissatisfaction, the potential benefits of living more mindfully are abundant:
- Management of depression, anxiety and stress
- Greater satisfaction in personal relationships
- Increased ability to relax and improved sleep
- Enhanced sense of well-being
- More balance and fewer emotional ups and downs
- Improved concentration and problem solving
- Decreased medical symptoms such as chronic pain and high blood pressure
- Increased self-awareness
- Less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences
- Greater energy and enthusiasm for life
- Increased acceptance of self and others
- Improved immune function and resilience
Insight can arise naturally when we fully connect with the messages from our body, and hold a gentle awareness of our thoughts and emotions. When we practice showing up to our moment to moment experience, we learn to see more clearly—removing the tainted lens of our restricting patterns and stories.