What is Mindfulness and How Can it Help You? by Patrick Cleveland, LMFT
posted: Mar. 19, 2021.
Mindfulness practices can be an excellent resource, skill, or tool that can help you in addition to therapy and in your life overall. Mindfulness expert Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn describes mindfulness as a way of connecting with your life. He defines it as "paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally." We are so conditioned in our culture to focus on the next thing, to get things done, and to be 'productive.' As result of that it can be difficult to slow down, quiet the chatter of our minds, and and be present in our lives when we have time to do things we love or spend time with family and loved ones. Mindfulness practices can help us learn to be more present with ourselves and with others. They helps us learn to show up in a more expansive awareness in our lives. Mindfulness practices can be meditation or yoga which involve paying direct attention to your breath or body in the present moment non-judgmentally or they can be cooking a meal or exercising as long as you also focus your attention on your body, breath, and the present moment as you are doing them. Each time you notice your mind wander...and it will, you bring your focus back to your breath, your body, and the present moment. Doing this over time helps us to gain more control over our mind, it's tendency to chatter or wander, as well as our reactions to our emotions. Mindfulness is about intention. By deliberating paying attention in the present moment to our breath, body, thoughts, reactions, etc., we learn to create a larger gap between our emotions and thoughts, and how we react to them so we learn to respond in a more mindfully grounded manner rather than impulsive. In short, we learn to be more responsive rather than reactive. In therapy, it can be an excellent tool to help you slow down, process emotions on your own, and better integrate whatever may come up for you in therapy so you can focus on achieving your goals with more awareness and direct intention. - Patrick Cleveland, L.M.F.T.
For more information on mindfulness or how to cultivate it in your daily life I created a video that can be viewed by clicking here titled "3 Reasons Why Cultivating Mindfulness is Good for You"