What is Mindfulness Therapy: 4 Examples of How This Powerful Therapy Works
Almost all of us are well-aware of the life-changing benefits of mindfulness. It is a super practice that helps to elevate the mental and physical well-being of an individual. It can also have therapeutic uses in the form of Mindfulness Therapy. Its greatest benefit is that it stabilizes human emotions bringing mental peace and calm.
Both of these techniques help an individual to train their mind for attention, awareness, mental clarity, and emotional stability. Among the two, mindfulness has emerged as a very promising therapy and people are increasingly adopting it to ease mental unrest. However, there is still a significant number of people who are unaware of the incredible benefits of mindfulness. If you are one of those, you’ve landed the right page.
Today, we bring you a comprehensive guide about mindfulness, how this amazing therapy works and how can you use it for addressing your physical and psychological issues. So, let’s begin.
What is mindfulness therapy?
Mindfulness is a deliberate practice of directing attention towards positive and non-judgmental thoughts. It allows an individual to develop a sense of thankfulness and appreciation. Mindfulness is like the inner voice that tells you not to focus on the negativity and look at the positive side. It encourages you to enjoy the present moment without fearing the future. When combined with therapeutic approaches, mindfulness creates an exceptional therapy for a healthy mental state.
As per the neuro-experts, mindfulness is a therapeutic and secular practice of conscious awareness where an individual learns to focus on the present. It mostly includes developing a sense of openness and non-judgment about the respective experience. Mindfulness is mostly combined with;
- Cognitive-based therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
Unlike yoga and other practices of meditation, mindfulness therapy doesn’t focus on relaxation but brings you mental peace as a result of focusing on positive thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Science-backed evidence for its effectiveness
Most of the research studies have been conducted for two specific types of mindfulness therapy. These are;
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Many research studies have clearly stated these therapies as effective methods of treating patients with mental health disorders. For instance, Kuyken and colleagues in 2015 reported that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy presents an effective solution for treating patients with depressive disorder.
Not only this, but the therapy also prevented the relapse of depressive thoughts among the patients. It was a randomized controlled study, comparing two groups of depressive patients. One received antidepressants only and the other one underwent mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The trial continued for around 2 years and the group observing the therapy showed speedy and enduring recovery.
Another research study by Galla et al. in 2015 found that effective programs including mindfulness-awareness practices are beneficial in reducing stress in urban communities. The study included around 127 local residents who implemented various mindful awareness practices. The findings of the study suggest that mindfulness practices can be an easy approach to promote public health. The common practices implemented for the study were;
- Relational mindfulness
- Sitting and standing meditation
- Practices to augment positive emotions
Last but not the least, Hofman and Gomez in 2017 found mindfulness therapy effective against anxiety and depression. They provided the participants with a chance to acquire health education, carry out relaxation training, and taking psychotherapies. As a result, the participants of the study reported significant improvement in the symptoms of their mental health disorders.
What is mindfulness therapy used for?
Mindfulness therapy finds extensive uses in your life. Having troubles in your love life, practice mindfulness. Suffering from depression and anxiety, practice mindfulness. Facing mental unrest, practice mindfulness. Do you have trouble sleeping, practice mindfulness.
Here are some major examples of what can be the possible used of mindfulness therapy.
Mindfulness therapy for improving your relationship
The Journal of Human Sciences and Extension has published a study that states that people who practice mindfulness make happier and satisfying partners. It was a review including 10-12 studies supporting a positive relationship between mindfulness and happier love lives.
As per the experts, there are five possible ways in which mindfulness promotes happier relationships. Here are those five magic ways;
- Mindfulness helps you to be more attentive and present so that you can direct your attention to your partner, listen to him carefully, and connect more.
- Mindfulness lowers the regulation of negative emotions so that you don’t see your partners as a threat and avoid negative emotions towards him/her. It helps you look at the positives of your relationship so that you can be more thankful.
- Mindfulness enhances self-awareness. You start seeing the areas where you are lacking and which might hamper your relationship badly. When you start noticing such things, you start making efforts to fix them which nurtures your relationship with your partner.
- Mindfulness helps you to be more empathic. You don’t judge your partner and try to understand him/her well. It activates the area of your brain dealing with compassion and empathy. You will understand the perspective of your partner and connect to them.
- Mindfulness helps you to be thankful and appreciative. In this way, you’ll start appreciating the little efforts of your partner which will help him to do more.
Mindfulness therapy to treat depression
Mindfulness therapy can be a savior for your mental health. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy have been reportedly useful in treating various levels of depression. As mentioned above, a scientific study found it effective for treating and preventing the relapse of the disease.
People suffering from major depressive disorder undergo major negative emotional regulation. They develop depressive thoughts because they don’t see anything positive about life. They are hopeless and believe nothing good can happen to them.
But the mindfulness therapy alleviates the regulation of negative emotions and helps the patient to observe and accept the good that life has to offer. It inculcates the sense of thankfulness which drives the patient to start hoping for the best. The techniques bring more tolerance and acceptance which uplifts the mental state of the patient and improves the symptoms of the disease. During the therapy, the patients learn to practice specific skills and exercises that activate their minds and reduces the severity of the depressive thoughts.
Mindfulness to treat anxiety
In 2010, Hofmann and three of his other fellows presented a review analysis that included almost 39 studies stating that mindfulness-based therapy significantly improves anxiety.
People suffering from severe anxiety experience extreme stress. They get worried about little things which cause more stress. Mindfulness therapy, for anxious people, works to reduce their stress. It helps them focus on the present situation and worry less about the future. The relaxing and breathing techniques used during the therapy helps stabilize the level of hormone in the body. Most importantly, it regulates stress hormones which are the molecular triggers of the disease. The lesser the stress, the lesser will an individual encounter anxious thoughts.
Mindfulness to treat insomnia
Mindfulness works great for people who experience troubled sleep. A study conducted by Black and colleagues in 2015 showed that mindfulness and meditation can help improve sleep among older adults. The study employed two groups; one practiced mindfulness and the other regulated a sleep hygiene. People who practiced mindfulness theory depicted more positive results. They not only reported good sleep but mental clarity and calmness as well.
How to practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness therapy isn’t like a regular exercise that you’ve to do at a particular time. It is an everyday effort towards self-improvement and lifestyle changes. A few of the common ways that can help you practice mindfulness are;
- Wake up early in the morning and observe nature
- Maintain a healthy diet schedule in which you eat brain-boosting foods
- Set up an exercise routine to build physical and mental muscles
- Reserve a portion of your day for meditation
- Practice breathing and relaxing techniques
- Limit the use of mobile phones and laptops
- Spend time with your loved ones
- Appreciate the moment you are living in
- Prepare for tomorrow but don’t stress yourself with what is to come
Apart from these, you can consult experts for any specific exercises to practice mindfulness. Remember don’t stress it upon yourself, enjoy it while doing it.
Mindfulness is a very effective technique for transforming your thoughts and life. It significantly impacts major areas of your life and thus should be practiced daily. It helps you fix your attitude and behavior towards life and people which can potentially help you with your personal, professional, and social life.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology, Scott went on to work as a teacher and educational counselor while working towards his master’s degree. He has spent several years working with children and adults and has personal experience with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Dyslexia, and Depression.