The Wonderful World of Mindfulness: Not Just for Buddha Anymore

This blog was posted by Eva Macaluso on February 7, 2013

What could be so perfectly simple and so simply perfect but a moment in time, a moment in mindfulness time? A moment of non-judgmental awareness of the self…hold on, don’t let go...just be aware of your present moment, your present experience while you are reading these words.

In Coming to our Senses, Jon Kabat–Zinn refers to mindfulness as a “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as nonreactive, as non-judgmentally, and as openheartedly as possible.” (p.108)

One of the best developments in the psychotherapeutic world over the past 5 years is the integration of mindfulness as an important and valid therapeutic intervention. It is a hot, hot topic. It has that great balance of complexity and simplicity, philosophy and practically, and the best part: it is available to everyone from all walks of life.

I was fortunate to learn about mindfulness 20 years ago when I was being trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT treatment, incorporated mindfulness as a key skill in one of her four skill building segments. DBT essentially merges Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy strategies, with interpersonal communication strategies and mindfulness skills to help people gain control of their difficult emotions and ineffective coping strategies (behaviors).

Mindfulness is something I use throughout the day for myself, even if just for a moment. It is also an intervention I use within a therapy session.  There are infinite ways of practicing mindfulness. Here are just a few:

·         Take a moment and become intensely aware of your breath

·         Take a moment and become intensely aware of what you hear

·         Take a moment and become intensely aware of what you smell

·         Take a moment and become intensely aware of what you taste

·         Take a moment and become intensely aware of  your thoughts

Are you catching on? Becoming aware of what you are sensing is a great way to begin to practice mindfulness. Just remember, two of the key elements of effectively practicing mindfulness is non-reactivity and non-judgmental.  That does not mean that your mind and body may not become reactive or judgmental, but then it is important to just notice what is happening without interpreting what is happening. Just be mindful of the reactivity and judgments without reacting and judging them. Now do you see where mindfulness becomes tricky business?  It is like strengthening any muscle; you have to exercise it and practice, practice, practice.

So go ahead, take a moment and try it!

To discuss further, please call me at 941.363.1039, or 
contact me for more information!

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