Mindfulness Counselling adds meditation to counselling session by practicing breathing exercises. Mindfulness-based interventions, therapeutic approaches grounded in mindfulness, promote the practice as an important part of good physical and mental health. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), dialectal behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are some mindfulness-based interventions currently utilized in therapy.
What is Mindfulness?
At present, there is no universally accepted definition for “mindfulness.” The term has proven difficult to define due to differing beliefs of what exactly mindfulness is, differing opinions on how to achieve mindfulness, varied views about the purpose of mindfulness, and the challenge of describing the concept using medical and psychological terminology.
Several general ideas are associated with the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness may be fundamentally understood as the state in which one becomes more aware of one’s physical, mental, and emotional condition in the present moment, without becoming judgmental. Individuals may be able to pay attention to a variety of experiences, such as bodily sensations, cognitions, and feelings, and accept them without being influenced by them. Mindfulness practices are believed to be able to help people better control their thoughts, rather than be controlled by them.
In addition to its increasing popularity in the physical and mental health fields, mindfulness approaches are also being utilized in several other areas: In the United States, mindfulness exercises are often employed in schools, businesses, the entertainment industry, and the military.
The use of mindfulness in therapy
In the Western world, mindfulness-based interventions are becoming widely accepted methods of addressing the symptoms associated with many commonly experienced mental health challenges and/or emotional concerns.
Meditation typically refers to formal, seated meditation practice. There are many types of meditation—those that focus on opening your heart, expanding your awareness, calming your mind, experiencing inner peace, and the list goes on. Here are some examples:
- Breath-awareness meditation
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Mantra-based meditation
- Visualization meditation
- Guided meditation
Meditation is an intentional practice, where you focus inward to increase calmness, concentration, and emotional balance. Seated meditation usually begins with deep breathing in a comfortable position, bringing all your awareness to your breath—inhales and exhales—consciously guiding the mind toward an anchor, or a single point of focus. In meditation, you typically spend a focused chunk of time—anywhere from a minute to an hour or more—in which you are tuned inward.
Mindfulness is all about being aware, which of course includes the practice of meditation. When you are being actively mindful, you are noticing and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and movements, and also to the effects you have on those around you.
You can practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere, and with anyone by showing up and being fully engaged in the here and now. Mindfulness is the simple act of paying attention and noticing and being present in whatever you’re doing. When most people go about their daily lives, their minds wander from the actual activity they are participating in, to other thoughts or sensations. When you’re mindful, you are actively involved in the activity with all of your senses instead of allowing your mind to wander.
Mindfulness can be practiced both informally (at any time/place) and formally (during seated meditation). Where meditation is usually practiced for a specific amount of time, mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day.
It can be difficult for the human mind to stay in the present moment. In fact, a recent study at Harvard found that people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing. This kind of mindlessness is the norm, as the mind spends its time focused on the past (in regret mode), the future (in worry mode), and trying out should have’s and what if’s. The study also found that allowing the brain to run on auto-pilot like this can make people unhappy. “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” the researchers said.