A Mini-Guide to Mindfulness Therapy

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Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is one of the latest psychotherapy options for individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, and stress. In some cases, it is also believed to help alleviate insomnia as well.

Mindfulness focuses on increasing awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions that may hinder one’s progress in life. Various mindfulness technique practitioners can be found in all major North American cities. Do not hesitate to give one a call today.

Origins of Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy is believed to have originated from cognitive therapies, such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, as well as other inward-focused techniques. It was developed specifically for individuals suffering from recurring periods of depression and unhappiness.

Issues Addressed by Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy addresses a variety of issues, such as depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, and out of control behaviour. In addition, mindfulness therapy has been known to help individuals with uncertainty about major life decisions, anger or grief about recent changes at home or work, and difficulties in relationships.

Mindfulness can also help with issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), hypochondria, health anxiety, insomnia, low self-esteem, internet addiction, nightmares, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, test anxiety, alcoholism, anger management, performance anxiety, and even quitting smoking.

Mindfulness Therapy Techniques

Various techniques are employed by mindful therapy practitioners, including breathing relaxation, muscle relaxation, non-judgmental reflection about one’s feelings, acceptance and tolerance of undesired feelings, constructive analysis on one’s feelings, compassionate self- support, as well as active modification of one’s feelings. Mindful therapy practitioners focus on teaching clients how to break free from negative thought patterns that can lead to unhappiness.

Meditation 

Other mindfulness techniques include meditation, which focus on breathing and relaxing. Meditation is found to improve sleep, create greater self-awareness, increase self-compassion, reduce pain, and reduce craving (if struggling with addiction). Research has recently proven that mindful meditation can reduce anxiety and stress.

Mediation can also reduce pain levels. Although it will not stop pain altogether, it may alter the way an individual thinks about their pain. This can lead to acceptance and a more positive outlook on life. Research has shown that meditation can reduce chronic pain, which is often associated with depression and a decreased quality of life for some individuals.

Body Scanning 

Body scanning, in which an individual mindful scans their body for any pains, tension, or different sensations, is also a popular mindfulness technique.

During body scanning, individuals follow steps to create a mental X-ray of the body. These steps include getting comfortable, focusing, choosing an area to start on, paying attention to pain and tension, acknowledging anything that comes up, and breathing. After these initial steps, individuals are encouraged to continue by releasing the pain and tension and move along the next area of the body. Finally, participants should note their drifting thoughts, visualize and breathe, followed by coming back slowly.

Guided Imagery 

Guided imagery is another type of mindfulness technique. During the process, individuals think of something peaceful and relaxing. This technique is often used at the start of longer mindfulness meditations.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques are also a mindfulness technique that can help individuals with a variety of symptoms, such as anxiety or stress. Beginning by placing one hand on the stomach with the other on the chest, individuals slowly fill their body with air. As the body fills with air, the hand is slowly pushed out.

These types of techniques are often found in yoga and lead to increased muscle strength, improved respiratory and cardiovascular function, improved sleep, and reduced depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. They are also believed to help people recover from additions.

Mindful Therapy Process

Mindful therapy often takes place once a week for two hours per session. It is often an eight-week program. On other days of the week, there will be homework and assignments.

Benefits of Mindfulness Techniques

As mentioned above, there are a great deal of benefits to mindfulness techniques. For example, techniques such as mediation are believed to improve focus, increase compassion and other positive emotions, as well as improve one’s ability to deal with unwanted emotions.

Finally, mindful therapy has also been known to improve depression symptoms in individuals with physical illnesses, such as vascular disease and traumatic brain injuries. Mindful therapy is also believed to be a cost-effective method for treating depression.

Other Therapies Incorporating Mindfulness

Mindfulness is also used in other types of therapies, including Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Choosing a Mindfulness Therapy Practitioner

Choosing a mindfulness therapy practitioner is now easier than ever. One of the simplest ways to begin one’s search is through Google reviews, as well as personal websites with client testimonials.

Various mindfulness practitioners can also be found based on recommendations from friends, coworkers, and loved ones. Do not hesitate to reach out to one’s network or local community, including religious and educational institutions. In addition, one’s current health professionals, such as a general practitioner, physiotherapist, or dentist may also have recommendations.

It is important to find a health professional with additional training in mindfulness therapy techniques. Various centres throughout the United States offer various types of training. Do not hesitate to ask about education, additional training, and certification.

Finally, it is important to find a mindfulness therapy practitioner with whom one is comfortable. Therapy sessions should be a safe place to open up about problems, without fear of judgement. Do not hesitate to ask for referrals and be sure to follow up.

Costs of Mindfulness Therapy

The costs of mindfulness therapy vary, often depending on factors, such as geographical location, expertise of practitioner, and number of sessions. In addition, while individual therapy sessions may be more expensive, group sessions are often a much more cost-effective option.

Mindfulness therapy can help individuals overcome a variety of issues. A wide range of mindfulness therapy practitioners is now available in all major North American cities. Contact one today.