Mindfulness-based therapies (MBT’s) and methods are becoming increasingly more popular with mental health and other healthcare professionals. Most mindfulness therapies incorporate elements of more traditional types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral or Gestalt therapy. However, with the unique and powerful addition of mindfulness techniques, these therapeutic approaches can be particularly beneficial in the treatment of a vast array of disorders and conditions. Although research is continuing to be done in this area there have been countless studies to support the use of specific mindfulness methods and mindfulness-based therapies.
Learning to be mindful can be psychologically beneficial for essentially any challenge that life presents. Those who practice mindfulness regularly might typically experience a greater sense of control when attempting to cope with difficult situations.
Benefits of MBT’s:
Stress and General life satisfaction
All of us experience stress brought on by daily living. People feel increasing pressure to multi-task constantly, rushing from one task to the next.
Rather than habitually reacting to situations – whether they are happy, sad or angry – but by just being aware of the moment, observing it compassionately, accepting them for what they are, not judging it as “good or bad”, people can enrich their daily experiences, and let go of thoughts and feelings that might be holding them back.
There are multiple benefits to mindfulness approaches and techniques in all areas of life, including mental health, physical health, relationships and overall wellbeing.
- Decrease in emotional reactivity – overreaction often cause problems in relationships, work settings and other life situations. Being more aware can help people becoming less reactive.
- Improved focus – individuals who have difficulty in staying focused are often easily distracted by both internal (e.g. worries, random thoughts, negative emotions) and external factors (e.g. noise, nearby activity). Mindfulness practices could increase their ability to focus on the task at hand and ignore distractions.
- Deepening relationships – awareness can help people establish more meaningful connections with others. It often helps mitigate the negative emotional impact of conflicts in relationships, leading to greater relationship satisfaction.
- Greater life satisfaction – Being mindful – and thus fully present in the moment – increases the ability to truly appreciate life’s joys and participate more fully in activities. It also improves people’s ability to handle adversity.
Mindfulness techniques such as meditation help reduce depressive symptoms, such as rumination and avoidance of negative emotions. Individuals with depression often get stuck in thoughts about the past, and a hopeless view about the future. Mindfulness helps them stay focused on the present. By increasing their self-awareness, mindfulness helps them to recognize these ruminations and allow the thoughts to pass instead. It also helps depressed individuals to become more compassionate to both themselves and others.
People who practice mindfulness are less likely to feel anxious and worried. These individuals have a difficult time letting go of troubling thoughts. They often fail to distinguish “what if” thinking from effective problem solving. Mindfulness enables them to recognize worrisome thoughts as merely thoughts – rather than facts. By looking at thoughts from this detached perspective, it takes away the power of those thoughts previously held.
Many people who struggle with insomnia have a difficult time “shutting off” their mind as they try to fall asleep. Mindfulness-based techniques help insomniacs become aware of the physical sensations and mental activity that may be keeping them awake.
Information from Mindfulness Based Therapy on www.addiction.com