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Mindfulness

Because of its empirically demonstrated effectiveness in helping patients work with difficult emotions, mindfulness training is one of the most prominent and widely used meditation techniques in therapeutic interventions today.

Mindfulness increases acceptance, a nonjudgmental and less guilt-ridden sense of emotion, and a recognition that emotions do not have to be controlled or suppressed but rather can be tolerated and experienced. Mindfulness training aims to foster a state of openness to experiencing emotions fully, in contact with the present moment, and without intense behavioral reactivity.

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Mindfulness is a pathway for individuals to understand the internal workings of their mind. By focusing their attention, mindfulness allows the individual to be aware of the cognitive processes that trigger mood, behavior and action. It is the cultivation of internal awareness, a framework that allows for the exploration of one’s inner life and the lives of others. The goal of mindfulness is to enable the individual to break away from the ingrained patterns of behavior and fixed emotional responses some individuals have a tendency to get stuck in. What’s more, mindfulness creates cognitive autonomy through the re-appraisal of one’s internal narrative and empowers the individual to be the author of his own story.

  • Find a comfortable chair with a straight back, sit erect, and ensure your feet lay flat on the floor. Enter a relaxed state, taking specific note of how relaxed your arms and hands feel.
  • Slowly close your eyes and direct your attention toward each and every breath as it enters and exits your body. Feel every aspect of the air as it flows through your mouth or nose, down your throat and into your lungs. Feel your chest as it expands with each breath, and notice how it contracts when you exhale. Try and stay in the moment by focusing on each breath, all the while observing where your sensations are strongest. Continue in this state.
  • When your mind begins to drift, simply acknowledge the interruption and softly redirect focus back on to your breathing. Distractions are to be expected, and one should not be criticized because of them. Rather, it is the acknowledgement of the distraction and the act of returning to focus that is one of the central tenants of mindfulness.
  • You may be experiencing a variety of different emotions and/or having some powerful thoughts. This too is normal. The key is to acknowledge and observe your emotions without reacting to them, and then returning your focus and awareness back to the sensations of your breath. Remember, it is perfectly okay if this process repeats itself multiple times throughout your first few practices.
  • After 5-10 minutes slowly open your eyes and take in your surroundings

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