What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a practice that’s associated with meditation, but it’s a bit different. Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD introduced mindfulness more than 30 years ago as a means of managing stress and relieving anxiety.

Mindfulness is the practice of noticing thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment and letting them “pass by” without judgment, like a piece of wood floating down a stream. This does two things: it creates a state of increased awareness about thoughts and feelings contributing to your discomfort or distress and sets the stage for helping you relate to those thoughts and feelings in a healthy, positive way.

Mindfulness is strongly supported by psychological science and is useful in treating a wide range of mental and physical health concerns to include anxietydepressionPTSD, and chronic pain. Mindfulness can enhance the quality of your daily life experience, reduce repetitive thoughts about past experiences or problems, and help you better manage responses to life’s hurdles and speed bumps.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me?

When you’re struggling emotionally, you may often feel stuck. This is because it’s easy to get into a rut with negative thinking about yourself or your experiences. When you’re present in the moment and fully conscious of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions, you can begin to address the source of what’s keeping you stuck.

Present-moment awareness in therapy creates a platform for you to untangle your fixed, often critical beliefs about yourself or your situation. Mindfulness emphasizes self-acceptance and recognition that there is no right or wrong way to think or feel. When practicing mindfulness, your attention is focused in the here-and-now rather than reliving the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness helps you acknowledge that the thoughts or emotions you’re experiencing in a particular moment don’t define you and will change. Mindfulness in therapy promotes development of new skills to help you respond differently to the thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations contributing to that feeling of being stuck.

This video, produced by Happify, can be helpful in better understanding what mindfulness is and why its practice can be beneficial.

Mindfulness in Therapy and Counseling

At its core, mindfulness is a pretty simple idea: by giving focused attention to what’s happening for you in the present moment you start to unpack that experience, recognizing thoughts and feelings associated with the experience. Once you’re working in therapy to identify your thoughts and feelings, you can begin the process of accepting and allowing. Within the framework of mindfulness, this is the non-judgment that takes the charge out of your experience – quieting your mind and helping you better regulate emotions.

Development of mindfulness skills in therapy helps you reframe your inner experience and develop a healthier means for connecting with the thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations influencing your experience. This connection brings with it greater clarity about your needs and the changes you desire to make in order to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

As an experienced psychologist with expertise applying mindfulness to mental health concerns, we can work together in a safe, accepting space in pursuit of long-term change in your relationship with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. We will work together to uncover ways in which you can live a meaningful and productive life. We will work together to move you in life directions about which you deeply care. We will work together to help you more consistently focus on what you want your life to be about and what really matters.

If you are struggling with negative thoughts and emotions, are feeling stuck, or think it’s time for a change, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together.