Mindfulness

It’s not a matter of letting go – you would if you could.  Instead of saying ‘let it go’ we should probably be saying ‘let it be’.  – Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Simply put, mindfulness (otherwise known as ‘mind watching’) is slowing down and taking an attentive, non-judgmental look at the thoughts and emotions we are currently experiencing.  We aren’t trying to control our emotions, in fact we are allowing them to flow.  We can watch our thoughts and emotions as an observer rather than as a reactor.  Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy is the technique research has proven to be the most effective in treating distress.

Mindfulness is not meditation although it is similar.  It can be practiced no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing.   Sometimes in the midst of a crisis or depression, mindfulness feels nearly impossible.  The mind is narrowed in its focus and attempts to watch the mind are overshadowed by the pain of the current situation.  This is when therapy is important because we may be best helped by someone just listening.  Then, we begin to feel that our thoughts and feelings make sense.  As the mind begins to heal, mindfulness becomes easier.  With additional practice and some awareness of the techniques, it becomes a trusted skill that can help you as soon as negative thoughts and emotions resurface.

What is mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy?  It is a treatment approach that involves calmly looking at beliefs using the power of our attention.  It has been researched and found to be very effective in helping people reach their therapeutic goals.  It is a supportive, validating approach.  What is narrative therapy?  Narratives are simply stories.  We tell ourselves stories about our lives all the time – it’s the way we make sense of the world and it’s necessary.   Narrative therapy is about expanding the story to include more options.  It’s a creative, powerful approach.