What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the process of intentionally bringing awareness to moment-to-moment experiences. It is a means for entering fully into the present moment, at the level of direct and immediate experience. It encourages a state of mind that is both relaxed and alert, in which one experiences greater mental calm and presence. Mindfulness can be enhanced through formal practices (eg meditation), as well as through everyday methods. It provides a mechanism for harnessing our most important resource: the mind.

How does it work?

Mechanisms by which mindfulness has been shown to enhance wellbeing include: promoting relaxation (Baer, 2003), enhancing self -awareness (Dekeyser and colleagues, 2008), increasing acceptance (Forman and colleagues, 2008), improving coping skills (Zautra and colleagues, 2008), as well as reducing rumination and promoting emotion regulation skills (Coffey & Hartman, 2008). Mindfulness skills have also been proposed to increase cognitive, emotional and behavioural flexibility (Shapiro and colleagues, 2006), as well as healthy brain development (Farb and colleagues, 2007; Lazar, 2005).

Mindfulness is the ideal tool to have for the reduction of stress, anger, depression and anxiety. Once you learn how to use ‘mindfulness’ you can always have it as a coping skill for whatever challenge lies ahead.

What is CBT ?  (Cognative Behavioural Therapy)

The underlying concept behind CBT is that our thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in our behaviour.

People often experience thoughts or feelings that reinforce or compound faulty beliefs. Such beliefs can result in problematic behaviours that can affect numerous life areas, including family, romantic relationships, work, and academics. For example, a person suffering from low self-esteem might experience negative thoughts about his or her own abilities or appearance. As a result of these negative thinking patterns, the individual might start avoiding social situations or pass up opportunities for advancement at work or at school.

In order to combat these destructive thoughts and behaviours, a cognitive-behavioural therapist begins by helping the client to identify the problematic beliefs. Then together the client and the therapist focus on the actual behaviours that are contributing to the problem. The client begins to learn and practice new skills that can then be put into use in real-world situations. By progressively working toward a larger goal, the process seems less daunting and the goals easier to achieve.


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