Mindfulness is being present in the moment with attention. You apply it in everything you do. It is used for stress, anxiety, burnout or tension symptoms and can improve the quality of your life. In this article, you can read more about the benefits of mindfulness and mindfulness therapy.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about being present in the here and now. You’re giving your full attention to the moment while observing it with all your senses. When you practice mindfulness, you are aware of your thoughts, feelings and physical senses passing without judgment. You just simply observe. Originally, the practice of mindfulness comes from Buddhism and Hinduism. From there, it has slowly made its way into modern, Western psychology. At iPractice, we use mindfulness to reduce various psychological symptoms.
Where attention goes, energy flows
By practicing mindfulness, you learn to direct your attention. By focusing your attention on what you want to pay attention to, you can more easily avoid non-helpful thoughts. The result: improved concentration and a calm and relaxed mind. Stress is reduced and you experience the things you give your attention to more intensely. You absorb things better and you can enjoy them more.
You’re less likely to respond to situations on autopilot. Instead, you make conscious choices. This doesn’t mean you’ll never get angry again. It does enable you to respond more thoughtfully. This may result in reacting calmly, or with appropriate anger. Thanks to better awareness, you are less likely to overstep your boundaries.
Meditation as part of mindfulness
Meditation is a part of mindfulness. The two terms do not have the same meaning. Meditation is an exercise: you sit down and take time to clear your head and focus on silence or on your breathing. You do mindfulness all day long. You use it continuously. It’s not an exercise, it’s a way of being busy: with attention, in the moment.
Is mindfulness right for me?
- You often have the feeling that you are being lived
You have a busy schedule and as a result, you’re not fully aware of everything you’re experiencing. Life is passing you by;
- Want to enjoy yourself more
In the process, experience peace, introspection and stillness in your life;
- Want to worry less
To be less consumed by your thoughts, and to simply be more present;
- Experiencing physical symptoms as a result of tension or stress
Think of muscle pain or headaches. For example, headaches and pains, but also, fatigue, insomnia, and high blood pressure can also be signs of stress;
- Have sleeping problems
Or you suffer from general fatigue;
- Want to learn to concentrate better
And learn how to hold your attention;
- Have depression and/or suffer from anxiety;
- Are experiencing psychological consequences of chronic illness or adversity.
How does mindfulness therapy work?
Mindfulness treatments can be divided into two groups. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).
MBSR is a set program of eight sessions. It’s an intensive mindfulness training that combines knowledge from yoga, meditation, Western medical science, and cognitive psychology. The program makes you more observant about the difference between the things you’re experiencing and what your thoughts are. As a result, you learn to respond more consciously and break patterns.
MBCT is a variant of MBSR that is specifically aimed at preventing relapses into depression. As a result of this therapy, you learn to recognize triggers that might cause you to have a relapse. You learn how to see these non-helpful feelings as something that will pass with time.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t always mean going through the set protocols of MBSR or MBCT. A psychologist will work with you to see which exercises are valuable to you and how to make these exercises part of your daily life and personal treatment. These could be exercises from either MBSR or MBCT.
Mindfulness helps reduce symptoms. Even without symptoms, mindfulness offers benefits to your health and overall mood.
What is mindfulness good for?
- Research shows that mindfulness reduces stress and improves quality of life;
- People who practice mindfulness experience improved attention, alertness and cognitive activity (your memory, for example);
- Your ability to concentrate also increases;
- It works preventatively against anxiety;
- It increases your productivity and energy;
- You enjoy your life more;
- It contributes to better relationships and communication;
- Mindfulness helps you sleep better;
- And, in addition, being able to get swept up in the moment improves your sexual experiences.
Meditation as part of mindfulness
Mindfulness at OpenUp
Want to see if mindfulness is right for you? OpenUp offers very accessible, free mindfulness sessions.
Find a psychologist for mindfulness
Do you have questions about what mindfulness can do for you? Or are you unsure about when to see a psychologist?
Mindfulness can provide an anchor in the here and now, taking us out of our worrying about the past or the future.
The cost of therapy is reimbursed by most health insurance companies with a referral letter from the general practitioner and if the classification is determined according to DSM-5 guidelines. See which health insurance companies reimburse our care.
The goal of mindfulness is to become more aware and better able to direct your attention.
Mindfulness must be practiced more often to be effective. On a scan we see result after 8 weeks of daily practice. In our practice, some people notice a difference after just a few weeks of practice.
Mindfulness is not always the best treatment for everyone. For example, it may make you more anxious if you are not used to being so aware of what you are thinking and feeling. This is normal, and mindfulness may not be the best treatment for you right now. It might help then to learn especially to direct your attention to things outside yourself. You may also feel that mindfulness does not work because your conception of mindfulness is not quite right. Often people think it should have a relaxation effect and you should not be distracted. This is not correct. Mindfulness is an attention training. Relaxation can be a consequence, but it doesn’t have to be. Being distracted is normal and human and part of mindfulness.