Have you ever heard of mindfulness based therapy? If not, you are in the right place! Learn what mindfulness is and how it can help you.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness branched out of Buddhism around 2,500 years ago. The Buddhist monks spent most of their time meditating, absorbing the surroundings and behaviors of people around them with a mental distance, without judgement.
This led them to the realization that it is important for people to choose their own battles. The core reasoning behind this is that there are things that we can change and influence, and there are those out of our control.
This is why, the skill of letting go is so important, not only for our inner peace but also for a better adjustment to the changing environment (because yes, everything changes, all the time).
This notion was adopted by Modern Psychology as part of the Cognitive Behavior Theory, which is based on the philosophy that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected, and together they create a certain pattern. Once the pattern is broken down we can get real insight and we can understand that there is a space for a change.
Hence mindfulness is proven as a great technique and tool to develop introspection and to start on the path to awareness through pattern recognition and deconstruction.
The 3 principles of Mindfulness
The concept of mindfulness is based on three pillars:
- Focus gives us the chance to be in the here and now, whatever the task in front of us is. This way we can functionally disregard the rest and keep only what serves us best. If this is too hard for you right now because of anxiety, you can read this article or contact Yaelle for a personal session here).
- Non-judgmental attitude refers to the fact that by labeling our experience we automatically prevent ourselves from having authentic reaction. When we react according to labels, we deprive ourselves of the chance to see the bigger picture and to do things in a more versatile way.
- Acceptance and Self-Acceptance also referred to as the heart of many mental health issues. Very often we participate in situations in which we ignore our feelings and attitudes in order to be accepted. Occasionally suppression becomes our normal way of functioning, which just creates a bundle of problems which are not being dealt with.
How can mindfulness help you?
So as we said there is what we call mindfulness based therapy, where an expert can help you with your current obstacles and work with you so you can be on the right track for change. But you can also learn from yourself to understand the principles and how to apply them.
First , you must learn to listen and understand your needs. Discover who you are, and what your priorities are. This is the starting point. It is of utmost importance to understand, to accept and live according to your personal core values. To be conscious that change can only start once we are in tune with our own needs and feelings.
Being present gives us the insight that throughout our lives we have been taught how we should feel and think in order to be accepted. What I mean by that, is that we have developed patterns of behavior which, at the time, served us well, but most of these patterns were built on approval or disapproval of our environment and not from a conscious personal decision.
Here we talk about those behaviors that were very helpful and needed at a certain time in our life, but nowadays, they create obstacles in our everyday life and do not allows us to become who we wish to become.
As an example, we avoid the acceptance of mental health problems because growing up we learned to consider it as a weakness and nowadays, we can’t even accept our own feelings because we are afraid to be judged or we perceive ourselves as weak or incapable. This leads to experiences like depression, anxiety or eating disorders etc. to be ignored and suppressed – and so, not treated as they should be.
For us to break out of this loop we have been in for so long we first have to acknowledge and accept the need to change.
The idea that mental illness experiences are weaknesses is not appropriate when you want to take care of your feelings, emotions and general health. Generalizing and normalizing the problem is way too common, not only by the society we live in or the people around us, but also by ourselves.
How often did you say to yourself that you don’t have the time or the resources to deal with the situation at hand but that you will take care of it
Or maybe the usual “it’s nothing, everyone goes through it eventually” or “who am I to complain; some people are living way worst”. All these internal dialogues are mental blocks that do not allow you to actually take a step and act on your health.
Eventually, you will then continue living this way indefinitely, even though deep inside you feel the pressure of it all, and you know you should do something about it.
Living this way for too long will most likely lead to a burn out or it will simply amplify the actual issues, therapy will then be needed and for a longer time (not only mindfulness based therapy but any kind that suits you best). If, however, it is dealt with on time, it becomes only a minor problem or at least, one that is easier to take care of.
Going back to our example, if you tell yourself instead: “yes there’s worst in the world, but this actually matters to me” or “to be strong is to know your weaknesses, time to take care of it”, “it’s okay to feel weak today, it tells me I have something to work on”… the chances of you taking care of your health and not postponing it until it hurts you or your loved ones, would be a lot higher.
Self-acceptance is a process.
The most important part is to give yourself time and space. It takes patience (and a lot of it) because we change all the time and our needs along with us. And that isn’t neither good nor bad.
Life is a process.
Having in mind that you are perfect as you are and that there is no need to be or to perform as others would like you to, will allow you to act on what you wish to change because it allows you to let go of judgment. Start comparing yourself only with yourself and no one else.
Start the change today!
It is time to free yourself. Feel the moment. Become aware of your emotions. Notice when something hurts or brings you joy whatever it is. Know that you are enough and start the growth that matters to you!
And if you are interested in mindfulness based therapy don’t hesitate to contact our expert here.
Sofija Borojevic & Yaelle Halberstam