Mindfulness as a Coping Tool

Mindfulness, though the concept has been around for thousands of years since Budda, is now a mainstream, research supported, psychological construct. Mindfulness-based treatment interventions are often incorporated into cognitive behavioral therapy (i.e. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and stress-reduction techniques (i.e. Mindfulness-based Stress-Reduction), for example, used in psychotherapy to help alleviate suffering.

Simply described, as I have used and understand it, mindfulness practice is a way we can learn to focus on what we want to focus on , without judgment and emotional reactivity (increasing flexible responses). Mindfulness is about staying present in this moment, practicing not focusing repetitively on regrets of the past (ex. depression) or the what-ifs of the future (ex. anxiety) . In Mindfulness, a thought is just a thought, a feeling is just a feeling, and one thought or feeling is no more important than another. It allows us to sit with and accept our feelings as a temporary brain state. Mindfulness practice aims to change our relationship to our thoughts. Just because we have a thought, doesn't mean we have to believe it. Our brain believes what we (our minds) tell it to.

I believe learning how to sit with and accept our feelings in a non-judgmental way provides children, adolescents and adults with a life skill that can encourage ongoing positive choices, including happiness. I find that especially anxious children benefit greatly from learning mindfulness. Dr. Christopher Willard, author of Child's Mind describes how we can get unstuck from old thoughts, feelings and behaviors and gives a lovely description: "... Mindfulness is like the rain that falls on the meadow, softening the ground to make blazing a new path easier ...."

I offer not only a mindful approach to therapy, but also incorporate and offer mindfulness teaching in my practice as one of the many positive coping skills we can all learn to develop, as I find it incredibly helpful. This includes tools and techniques from: Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, MbCBT, as well as Mindfulness-based Stress-Reduction, MbSR. Mindfulness is an empowering tool. I've seen it consistently help clients, contributing to decreasing stress, anxiety and depression, along with increasing overall contentment and happiness.

Learning to be mindful can help with all kinds of relationships as well.

The best way to learn Mindfulness-based Stress-Reduction is to do it. If you choose, it would be my pleasure to teach you. They call it a practice because it takes practice. Life is a journey.

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