Therapists are integrating present awareness and mindfulness into their practice. Here's why—and how.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of therapy that focuses on helping you become more aware of their present moment, and disconnect the mind from worries of the past or future. Mindfulness is a state of being that can be achieved through meditation and other self-care practices to begin reducing the mind full.
Have you ever caught yourself struggling during a meditation to concentrate on your breathing, free yourself of thought, and end up feeling frustrated towards yourself? Mindfulness practice gives you permission to acknowledge and examine your thoughts and emotions as they come without attaching judgment. When you let those thoughts and emotions pass, you return your attention back to your breath.
Mindfulness is shifting away from how things should be, and observing how they really are.
The clinical value of mindfulness therapy has been successfully used for many psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has shown to help addresses underlying causes of suffering, and serves as an active component in developing inner awareness in psychotherapy. Mindfulness can be combined with a variety of therapeutic approaches such as psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, gestalt, humanistic, or any other. It is developed to be personalized and fit your specific need.
This type of intervention can also help to improve overall well-being and quality of life. According to Shakti Therapy & Healing Services, a holistic group practice in Los Angeles, CA, it is important to be patient and to practice regularly in order to see the benefits. Mindfulness therapy can additionally:
Increase focus and attention by being present
Reduce rumination and negative thinking.
Improve sleep quality.
Improve physical health and reduce pain.
Reduce the risk of developing mental health conditions.
Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.
Increasing imagination and creativity.
Ways to Practice Mindfulness:
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. You may choose to close your eyes and focus on your breath, or keep your eyes open and take in your surroundings.
Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Allow them to come and go without attaching to them.
If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the here and now.
Be patient with yourself and don’t expect perfection. Mindfulness is a practice and it takes time to learn.
Try to practice mindfulness for at least 10 minutes each day. Remember, consistency is key.
3 Types of Mindfulness:
Five Senses: If you're feeling anxious or worried, bring your attention back to your current moment with this simple grounding exercise. Mindfulness can be achieved through engaging your five senses while doing any activity from as simple as sitting or walking. What are…
5 things you can see
4 things you can feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Body Scan: This technique involves paying attention to physical sensations throughout your body. The intention is not to make changes or force relaxation, but rather raise awareness. You can start this practice by bringing attention to your feet and slowly working your way through each body part until you reach your head. Notice any tingling, warmth, coolness, pressure, pain, or stiffness. Remember to move slowly and can continue this practice by moving back down from your head to your toes.
Mindful Eating: Did you know you can practice mindfulness with food? Mindful eating involves recognizing shape, color, texture, size, scent, and taste. Even before you put food in your mouth, think about how this food came to your table? Who farmed it? How did it get to the store, and now to you? As you are eating, pay attention to how the texture changes. What sensations are you feeling in your mouth and body?
Conclusively, mindfulness can enhance emotional and mental well-being, helping you develop qualities of acceptance, awareness, compassion, and presence that strengthen and fulfill your life. You can do it anywhere and anytime.
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.