Mindfulness-based therapies are designed to reduce stress and help individuals to deal with stressful situations in a healthy way. The program is scientifically based on the notion that by paying attention to your body, both physically and mentally, you can learn to better control your responses to stressful situations. The program is a powerful tool for the treatment of depression and chronic stress as it utilizes meditation, exercise, yoga, and other mindful practices to facilitate stress management. There is also a mindfulness journal, where clients can write about their experiences, goals, or personal needs.
According to the Mindfulness Research Institute, mindfulness has been described as being an “interconnected energetic field of subtle energy that pervades all activity” and is the basis for both well-being and performance. Mindfulness-based stress management is an eight-week guided evidence-based practice that provides intensive, formal mindfulness training for individuals with acute stress, fear, anxiety, pain and depression. The program helps participants to:
Meditation is a state of deep relaxation that can be accomplished by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, breathing deeply, and allowing thoughts to arise, but bringing them back down again as soon as they arise. Mindfulness also requires that you become aware of your body, what it feels like, and how it feels to be in different situations. This awareness brings mindfulness to your thoughts and actions.
Exercise, such as walking, strengthens your core muscles and increases your physical well-being through cardiovascular conditioning. Guided Imagery (like reading a poem or watching a video) is another excellent method of experiencing mindfulness. By becoming fully present in an imaginary situation, you are more able to respond flexibly to stressful stimuli. Aromatherapy, massage, and yoga can also be wonderful ways to experience a heightened awareness of your body while becoming fully present. These are just four ways to experience and enhance your mindfulness on a daily basis.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness go beyond stress and insomnia. It has been proven that people who have been shown to be highly attentive and have high levels of mental well-being are happier and healthier. A study done in the year 2021 by John Krystal found that students who were enrolled in a mindfulness class, were better students in the classroom and had lower grades. A well-researched study like this supports the idea that by practicing mindfulness regularly, it can not only enhance your physical well-being, but it can have a positive effect on your emotions as well.
When I was younger, I used to struggle with being mindful of my breath. I would take a deep breath, thinking I was doing a good job of counting all of the things that I could feel in my body. When I exhaled, I thought I was letting go of a burden or something. But really, I was not releasing anything; I was experiencing the same sensation that I always experienced when I was aware of my breath, and nothing else. Now, whenever I experience that sensation, I let go of the weight of what I am carrying, and I experience the same happiness and wellbeing that people who practice mindfulness are known to experience.