Building Awareness and Living in the Moment

Mindfulness has become a useful therapeutic practice and is utilized in various therapeutic modalities, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).  But did you know that mindfulness existed long before it became part of evidenced-based mental health practices?  People have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years.  Mindfulness can be traced back to many religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism (Trousselard et al., 2014).

Studies on mindfulness have increased over the past few years, and researchers have discussed many possible benefits of this practice, including reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, and relationship satisfaction (Davis & Hayes, 2012).

So, what is mindfulness?  Jon Kabat-Zinn, the developer of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, says that mindfulness is "the ability to be aware of your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and actions in the present moment without judging or criticizing yourself or your experience".  At Purposeful Practices, we can utilize mindfulness techniques in a variety of ways in our sessions, and I can provide you with mindfulness assignments to work on outside of our sessions.  Mindfulness meditation is one such technique that can be used to focus on your breath or body.  When practicing a mindful breathing meditation, the breath becomes the object of concentration, which can produce sensations of grounding and relaxation and can help to develop awareness and attention.  Mindfulness and meditation are like exercise for the brain!



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