Do you feel as though your negative thoughts are controlling your behaviour? Are you sick of feeling restricted? If you’d like to stop your thoughts from getting in the way – perhaps you should practice some mindfulness!
What is Mindfulness?
By definition mindfulness is “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception” (Nyanaponika Thera, 1972). Put simply, mindfulness is related to ones consciousness, and to be mindful involves being conscious of the present moment. Within mindfulness there is also an emphasis on acceptance – accepting the present moment, letting go of anything stressful, and embracing your current situation.
Mindfulness is not a new concept and has existed in a range of religions, particularly Buddhism, for thousands of years. More recently mindfulness has expanded from eastern cultures to western cultures, including being used in clinical psychology settings to treat distress. This has lead to the development of a range of increasingly popular mindfulness-based therapies including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MBCT) and more.
Extensive research into mindfulness has demonstrated mindfulness to successfully treat a range of psychological issues. For a list of what mindfulness has been shown to effectively treat read ‘mindfulness is useful in treating’ below.
Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness:
Consciousness involves one’s awareness and attention. Awareness can be seen as the ‘background radar’ of consciousness, and involves having knowledge of what is occurring in one’s inner and outer environment. Attention involves focusing one’s awareness on, and therefore making one more sensitive to, something specific within one’s environment. Awareness and attention are usually interrelated, in that attention constantly pulls ‘features’ out of the ‘ground’ of awareness, focusing on them for differing amounts of time.
Mindfulness involves attending to and being aware of one’s current experience, unlike mindlessness, where attention and awareness are limited and blunted.
Mindlessness, or not being conscious of the current moment, is often characterised by rumination, brooding, preoccupation with the past, anxieties about future events, and so forth. For example, if an individual is watching television, but also wondering what they should cook for dinner, then they are not entirely focused on the current moment. Some would say they are mindlessly watching Television, with their eyes set on the TV but mind elsewhere.
In contrast, mindfully watching TV would involve listening to what each character on the TV show says, paying attention to the cinematography, watching the ads, and so on. Their attention is not divided; they are not distracted by thoughts that detract from the quality of their engagement with the TV.
Being conscious of (aware and attending to) the present moment, of what is focally present.
Being distracted from the current moment such as focusing on past events, anticipating future events, fanaticising and ruminating.
|Undivided attention.||Divided attention.|
Being aware of one’s emotions & actions. In this way being mindful is likened to emotional intelligence, which involves having perceptual clarity about one’s emotional states.
Acting impulsively or compulsively, acting upon ones emotions. In this way being mindless is likened to a lack of emotional intelligence, whereby emotions drive one’s behaviour before they are properly acknowledged.
Helps individuals disengage from automatic thoughts, habits & unhealthy behaviours.
Fosters automatic thoughts, habits and unhealthy behaviours.
Active awareness, actively noticing new things.
An inactive state of mind that relies on past experience – being on ‘autopilot’.
|Questioning what one hears or reads.||Accepting everything one hears or reads as correct.|
Mindfulness skills will help participants to:
- Reduce stress and worry.
- Break self-defeating habits.
- Let go of distressing or unhelpful thoughts.
- Improve concentration and decision-making abilities.
- Improve performance and find satisfaction in work.
- Develop more meaningful and satisfying relationships.
Mindfulness is useful in treating:
Mindfulness therapy can help you promote a healthy mind and prevent relapse by teaching you how to focus on the here and now, improve your self-awareness, and to accept the negative feelings and thoughts without letting them take over. Mindfulness has been proven to treat the following effectively.
- Eating Disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mindfulness at Psylegal:
At Psylegal mindfulness-based therapeutic techniques are highly regarded. We run mindfulness groups throughout the year to treat anxiety and depression, and also run mindfulness-based stress reduction programs for lawyers. All of our practitioners are trained to provide mindfulness; and use mindfulness in conjunction with CBT (MBCT) to provide the best possible outcome for clients.
Most individuals are eligible for Medicare rebates for our mindfulness groups, as well as our one-on-one consultations.
For more information, or if you would like to book an appointment today, please contact us on 1300 79 22 09.