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What is mindfulness therapy?

Returning home to the present moment

Our minds are constantly filled with thoughts and chatter, yet all too often, those thoughts can be on autopilot. Regrets about the past and worries about the future can often distract us from something very important — the present moment. This can include what is happening with our mind, body and surroundings.

Yet in a sense, the present is all that really matters as it is the place where our life unfolds and the only place where we have influence. So how can we learn to spend more time in our precious present?

Mindfulness can help with this. In essence, it is a practice that involves learning how to become aware of what is happening both inside and outside of yourself, without judgement. Through mindfulness therapy, you can become more conscious of how you react to things and also learn how to steer your responses. This means that rather than feeling ruled by your emotions, you can become a calm observer of them. In essence, mindfulness gives you a choice.

Studies have shown that just eight weeks of mindfulness practice can help to develop the parts of our brains responsible for creativity, emotional intelligence and happiness. It can also shrink the parts linked to stress, depression and addictive behaviours. Most importantly, mindfulness can help you to have a better, more positive relationship with yourself.

How does mindfulness therapy work?

Led by a therapist in a group or one-to-one, mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts, body, breathing, sensations and environment. It can also involve walking, exercising, creating art, spending time in nature and committing to performing one task at a time. The key is to direct your focus to the present and observe your experience more clearly.

There are various types of mindfulness-based therapy, including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). All can help you to develop a richer relationship with both the present moment and yourself. Mindfulness is also a central part of many other therapies including DBT, a therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating borderline personality disorder and other issues.

What can mindfulness therapy help with?

Depression or low mood, stress, anxiety, addiction, chronic pain, wellbeing, eating issues, anger

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