The word mindfulness is everywhere these days, and the world of psychotherapy is no exception. If you are seeking therapy, it is more than likely that your therapist will bring up this concept at some point. Most people recognize that mindfulness and meditation are connected, but what does mindfulness really mean, and what role does it play in therapy?
Meditation is a great way to get in touch with the basic principles of mindfulness, but these principles can also be practiced and incorporated into your everyday routines. In essence, mindfulness means an increased sense of awareness of both internal and external processes. In meditation, when you are told to “focus on your breathing,” you are bringing your awareness to this automatic, physiological process. Similarly, when you “acknowledge your thoughts,” you are bringing awareness to the words passing through your mind in a manner that is observant.
Mindfulness also extends to the world around you. As you walk down the street and notice the sounds of birds chirping, or the sensation of your body weight against the ground, you are being mindful in those moments because you are fully present in the here-and-now. In doing so, your attention is not on a silly comment that you made to an acquaintance 5 years ago, or what you will need to pick up at the grocery store for dinner later that night.
The concept of mindfulness is both exceptionally simple and challenging to execute. When we live in a world of thoughts constantly streaming through our minds, it can be challenging to take a step back and enter the quiet realm of observation. However, when many of these thoughts are unhelpful or downright mean, the practice of mindfulness can have a beneficial therapeutic effect.
To learn more about the practice of mindfulness, reach out to one of our licensed counselors by booking an appointment below:
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P