Mindfulness

It wasn’t until the late 1970s that mindfulness meditation began to be addressed as a therapeutic intervention to improve psychological well-being, despite the fact that research on the subject had begun as early as the 1960s. Nowadays, mindfulness is applied in a variety of circumstances, and there are many diverse interpretations of the term available. The inventor of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), one of the most extensively researched and widely applied mind­fulness programs in the world, JON KABAT-ZINN, defines mindfulness as follows: “Mindfulness is about being fully awake and present in our lives.” Each moment’s extraordinary vividness must be perceived in order to be fully appreciated.” Diana Winston of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center defines mindfulness as paying attention to present-moment experience with open curiosity and a readiness to stay with whatever is happening at any given time. [1]

Most of the time, when this happens, it is completely unexpected, such as while hiking on a mountain trail on a crisp fall day, or while being completely immersed in a task or play that you are not pondering about the past or the future, or while connecting with someone in such a way that it appears as if time has stopped completely. It is always possible to be alive and whole in the present moment, but it is sometimes difficult to achieve, especially during times of difficulties and external demands, as we have experienced.

Positive psychological consequences of mindfulness include an increase in subjective well-being, a reduction in psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, as well as an improvement in behavioral regulation. A mindfulness-based approach is advised as a treatment for some individuals who are struggling with common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Also included are people who just want to enhance their mental health and well-being through relaxation and meditation. [2]

Mindfulness as a kind of behavioral intervention for clinical problems dates back to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who investigated the use of mindfulness meditation in treating patients with chronic pain, which is now known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Several different interventions have been created that are based on mindfulness-related principles and practices, including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and other forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (ACT).[3] ACT and DBT are both cognitive-behavioral treatments that incorporate elements of mindfulness into their treatment plans. [4]

In psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a method of treatment that combines cognitive therapy with meditation and the cultivation of a present-oriented, nonjudgmental attitude known as “mindfulness.” Therapists Zindel Segal, Mark Williams, and John Teasdale came up with the idea of MBCT as a way to build on the principles of cognitive therapy. Using cognitive therapy in conjunction with a program developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), they hoped to improve the effectiveness of therapy. With MBCT, the primary goal is to assist patients suffering from chronic depression in learning how to avoid relapses by refraining from engaging in those habitual thought processes that perpetuate and worsen depression. According to a study published in The Lancet, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was just as effective at preventing depression recurrence as maintenance antidepressant medication. Individuals who suffer from recurrent depression can benefit from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which has been found to reduce the risk of relapse by approximately 50 percent on average.[5]

I have explored in depth Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), so that is where I will be concentrating my efforts. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a technique that tries to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are believed to contribute to stress and psychological health. I strongly advise looking into this technique because it is quite beneficial. The 8-week certified stress reduction program is based on rigorous mindfulness training and is provided free of charge by the Palouse Mindfulness website. Participants in an MBSR course become more familiar with their own behavior patterns as a result of the regular mindfulness training that the course provides, particularly in the context of stressful situations. They also learn that, while they may not always be able to change the situations in which they find themselves, they do have the ability to select how they will respond to those circumstances. MBSR describes this as a transition from reacting to responding, with the latter involving a sharper view of the circumstances by becoming more in touch with the thoughts, sensations, and emotions that are currently present. [6]

As an effective alternative to existing medical and/or psychological treatment, MBSR has been shown to significantly improve the outcomes of treatment for the following conditions: anxiety and panic attacks, Asthma, cancer, and chronic illness, depression, eating disorders, fatigue, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal distress, grief, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, skin disorders, sleep problems, work, family, and financial stress, and work, family, and financial stress (Center for Mindfulness). When it comes to practicing mindfulness or yoga, there are essentially no obstacles. As long as you have a conscious mind, you can engage in mindfulness practices, and as long as you have a moving body, you can engage in yoga practices.

There are actually multiple distinct ways to practice or participate in mindfulness, each with a different emphasis on a different aspect of the discipline. Focus Mindfulness, particularly mindfulness practiced with an emphasis on focus, entails turning inside to examine what is going on in your mind. Awareness Mindfulness, In contrast to focusing, exercising awareness places an emphasis on the exterior rather than the inward. When you are aware, you are looking at your thoughts and feelings from a different viewpoint than you are used to having, and you are not attaching any judgment to what you are seeing. Breathing exercises, body scans, object meditation, mindful eating, walking meditation, mindful stretching, and mindful listening are just a few examples of mindfulness exercises. [7]

According to research, the practice of “mindfulness” is becoming more popular as a component of mental health treatment in recent years. You may include mindfulness practices in your daily routine. To practice mindfulness, you don’t need any specific equipment, such as a meditation cushion or bench, or any other unique equipment, but you do need to set aside some time and space to do so. The goal of mindfulness is not to quiet the mind or to reach a state of permanent tranquility. The purpose is straightforward: strive to devote full attention to the present moment, without passing judgment on it.[8]

References

[1] Carrión, Victor G., et al. Applied Mindfulness : Approaches in Mental Health for Children and Adolescents. Vol. First edition, American Psychiatric Association Publishing, 2019.

[2] “How to Look after Your Mental Health Using Mindfulness.” Mental Health Foundation, 14 July 2021, https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-look-after-your-mental-health-using-mindfulness.

[3] Keng, Shian-Ling, et al. “Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health: A Review of Empirical Studies.” Clinical Psychology Review, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679190/.

[4] What’s New | Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. https://contextualscience.org/.

[5] Schimelpfening, Nancy. “How Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Works.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 14 July 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy-1067396.

[6] Institute for Mindfulness-Based Approaches :: What Is MBSR?, https://www.institute-for-mindfulness.org/offer/mbsr/what-is-mbsr.

[7] “MBSR: 25 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Exercises and Courses.” PositivePsychology.com, 10 Mar. 2021, https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction-mbsr/.

[8] “The Power of Mindfulness for Your Mental Health.” Rogers Behavioral Health, https://rogersbh.org/about-us/newsroom/blog/power-mindfulness-your-mental-health#:~:text=The%20practice%20of%20%E2%80%9Cmindfulness%E2%80%9D%20is,relax%20the%20body%20and%20mind.

“Center for Mindfulness – UMass Memorial Medical Center – UMass Memorial Health.” UMass Memorial Health, http://Www.ummhealth.org, https://www.ummhealth.org/umass-memorial-medical-center/services-treatments/center-for-mindfulness.

The Past, The Future, and The Now

Anxiety and depression deprive humanity of the present moment. For depression, one’s mind is captivated by the past, but for anxiety, one’s mind is consumed by the future. We are distracted by the past and the future, and we overlook the simple pleasures that are there in front of us. We miss being alive, and time flies by in the blink of an eye.

Perhaps the past is a safe haven for those who are absorbed by nostalgia and thus spend time in their memory box. The bittersweet emotion of longing for a time when things appeared to be better and easier. For some, it may simply be a trip down memory lane, but for others, it may be a historical type of nostalgia triggered by dissatisfaction with the present. Perhaps the future holds promise for some, so they keep track of their thoughts in anticipation—which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it can absorb the present moments if not managed properly. For example, some people believe that they will be happy in the future only if they have accomplished something, or if they meet someone, or if they move to that new house or get married or have a child.

The mind is programmed to associate cause and effect with contentment. It’s like happiness is a waiting game, where you’re hoping to be happy “if only,” “when only.” Perhaps you can be happy right now, you know. It’s about the journey, not the destination because when you get there, you’re only happy for a moment and then you’re back to the normal state-what you nurtured as your baseline for happiness. According to the hedonic treadmill theory, no matter what happens to people, their levels of happiness will eventually return to their baselines. As a result, the doing is more important than the result—It’s like a delicate balance of doing and being, of planning and letting go, of accepting what is while striving to improve what could be.

According to the hedonic treadmill theory, no matter what happens to people, their levels of happiness will eventually return to their baselines.

If I had to compare time to anything, I would say it is a deity. It is deeply embedded in our minds and governs every part of our lives. When our minds are constrained by the past and future—Time does not appear to be psychologically pleasant. It is torturous and makes life seem unbearable. For instance, imagine waking up late for work or anything else, and your entire day devolves into shambles because of a single thought—”omg, I’m late.” The exhilaration that comes with a racing heartbeat, as if time will stand still for you. The rage that emerges during traffic, as if everyone else awoke in the same situation as you. At normal speeds, the effect of time slowing down is minimal, but it becomes highly noticeable as speeds near those of light. To put it another way, the rate at which time passes is determined by your point of view. That is the great physicist Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity– that time is an illusion that moves relative to an observer. An observer traveling near the speed of light will experience time and all of its aftereffects (boredom, aging, etc.) much more slowly than a resting observer.

“People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”

– Eckhart Tolle

It’s more like we sleep, wake up for a moment, and then sleep again. When we fully awaken, we frequently wonder, “What have I been doing all along?” In anticipation of how much time has passed, it can be a frightening moment of realization. Time, on the other hand, is a social construct. It only governs our minds psychologically and is not fundamentally real. “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion,” says Echart Tolle. What you value is not time, but the one point that exists outside of time: the Now. That is truly priceless. The more you focus on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, which is the most valuable thing there is.

What you value is not time, but the one point that exists outside of time: the Now.

Perhaps we can cheat time, or maybe time can be subconsciously altered. Perhaps if we pay close attention to the present moment- The Now… waking up to noticing the birds sing. Paying attention to our breath, spending time in nature- sit still for a while, examine our surroundings, and fill what is. Coming to terms with the current dimension, letting go of affiliation with the mind, and realizing that you are more truly yourself without thought. Perhaps the thoughts that are stolen from us by time, those that travel to the past and future, can be transcended and accessed only when needed, making us more powerful, effective, and creative.