Meditation and Mindfulness
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept that has been around for thousands of years. It has been defined as drawing calm, nonjudgmental attention to one’s experience in the moment. More recently, Western psychology has been integrating the practice of mindfulness into psychotherapy in order to treat a range of physical and emotional problems and to improve overall quality of life in its practitioners.
Mindfulness can be practiced as a type of meditation that involves focusing attention on the breath and closely observing thoughts, feelings, and sensations that come up without reacting to or judging them. It can also be practiced in everyday life by bringing full attention to whatever it is you’re doing in the moment. In a culture where multitasking is considered a talent, it’s no small feat to make the shift into focusing fully on what you’re doing in the present without allowing attention to stray to either the past or future. So it takes some practice to cultivate mindfulness but research tells us it’s worth it.
What are the benefits?
Research confirms what meditators have experienced for themselves: mediation is good for us. Practitioners manage stress more effectively, experience greater clarity and focus, and are able to respond to their emotions with awareness and calm versus reactivity. It’s been shown to alleviate clinical disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and insomnia.
I’m interested in using mindfulness in my clinical work but also apply it to my daily life as a way of growing and developing both personally and professionally. I’ll be writing about my own experience with meditation, practicing mindfulness in everyday life, and using mindfulness in therapy.