Mindfulness has been around for centuries, originating from Buddhist meditation practices. In essence, mindfulness is the practice of becomming aware of our present environment and thoughts without judgment, encouraging us to be in the moment, or ‘mindful’ of our experiences. In psychotherapy, mindfulness is used to help manage difficult thoughts and feelings and is effective for a variety of mental health difficulties, ranging from stress and anxiety to depression.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many different forms. When people imagine mindfulness, they usually think of yoga or breathing exercises where you try sitting quietly with your eyes closed, focusing on the breath and paying attention to any thoughts, feelings or physical sensations that come to mind. Whilst this is true, mindfulness can also be incorporated into any daily activity. For example, going for a walk, doing the washing up or can all be mindful activities where you're making a conscious effort to bring your attention back to what you're doing, focusing on your senses and not getting hooked onto your thoughts.
Through practicing mindfulness in your daily life, it can help you to become more aware of your body, thoughts and emotions in order to gain better control over them. Mindfulness can also help you to become less reactive when difficult situations arise, since it encourages a non-judgmental attitude towards experiences and allows us the opportunity to pause and think before acting. In this way, mindfulness is an effective tool to help us recognize unhelpful patterns and understand the impact of our thoughts and behaviors on our emotions and others.
In psychotherapy, mindfulness-based therapies can help people learn to become more aware of their thoughts and reactions, as well as how to manage stress, control emotions and change behaviors. It can also be used as a tool in other therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Overall, mindfulness can be a powerful tool to help people gain control of their thoughts, reactions and behaviors by helping us to become aware of what we are experiencing in the present moment without judgment or attachment. If you're interested in trying mindfulness out for yourself, take a look at some of our favourite mindfulness practices below:
If you’re interested in exploring how mindfulness and therapy could help improve your mental health, take a look at the types of therapy offered by us at Power to Live. We provide low-cost psychotherapy starting from just £5 per session*. Book your free assessment with one of our friendly Senior Clinicians today.
*pricing is means-tested based on income. For our full price list, visit here.