Mindfulness is a state of becoming calm and quieting thoughts and actions. This can be achieved through many ways, including mindful eating, walking, meditation, yoga and more. A major study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that participants who practiced mindful eating experienced significantly less depression than did those who did not practice this approach. Mindfulness is also known as mindfulness, which is defined as the persistent awareness of the present moment, with an emphasis on moment-to-moment experience.
The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is designed to teach individuals how to become aware of their thoughts and actions in order to control them. The eight-week test-oriented mindfulness program provides secular, intensive mindfulness instruction to help people with post-traumatic stress, high anxiety, depression and excessive pain. The program teaches how to observe one’s responses to stressful situations, which in turn can often be an indicator of deeper problems. This training helps people to gain an understanding of their emotional response to stressors in their environment. This mindfulness practice becomes a powerful tool for reducing negative feelings and stress, replacing them with a more positive attitude.
Mindfulness cultivates awareness of the present moment awareness, which in turn can help people reduce emotional and mental reactions that run counter to the healthy result of the approach. The concept of mindfulness refers to a holistic approach to wellness that views all of one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations, emotions, physical sensations and physical actions as just that: present moment awareness. When mindfulness is practiced regularly, it can foster healing in many ways. Mindfulness can reduce or eliminate feelings of anxiety and depression, and increase awareness of breath and body movement. This approach can have a profound impact on health and wellness. The University of Wisconsin Madison study even suggested that regular practice can reduce blood pressure and reduce symptoms of stress and burnout.
A mind-body approach to fitness and well-being can include regular meditation, but there are also other ways to cultivate mindfulness. Meditation does not require the same focus and concentration that Mindfulness requires, which make meditation a more effective tool for developing mindfulness. It is helpful to practice mindful breathing techniques before and after a workout routine to enhance the mind-body connection between the mindful state of mind and the physical sensations that arise from engaging in physical activity. Some physical activities such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates and qigong can also promote mindfulness. The goal of these types of exercises is to create a state of unity between mind and body, where all sensations are felt as just that: sensations.
Mindfulness also enhances communication between client and therapist. Many physical therapy professionals utilize meditation and other mind-body practices to achieve a state of unity and calmness. By practicing a form of mindful awareness during therapy clients learn to monitor their own responses and to respond constructively to the messages their therapist provides, thus increasing the therapist-client connection and ultimately enhancing the patient’s well-being. Because mindfulness encourages clients to be self-aware of their own experience, rather than self-critical, the process of improving one’s psychotherapy sessions builds a strong foundation for the client-therapist relationship. This type of positive connection has been shown to increase the effectiveness of any psychotherapy regimen.
Developing mindfulness can also involve setting aside time to focus on breath and movement. Mindfulness meditation or sitting meditation can be very easy to do, requiring only the practice of focusing on the breathing in order to relax the body and mind. Practiced consistently, sitting meditation can help with anxiety, depression, stress and other disorders. With these and other tools, a therapist can use meditation to create a conducive work environment and therapeutic atmosphere where everyone is at ease.