I am currently doing a Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) course online (https://www.mindfulpath.com.au/) and loving it! I was first introduced to the daily practice of mindfulness through an MBSR course in 2011 and it transformed my life! I practice mindfulness daily but I still sometimes forget or take for granted the reasons why mindfulness saves me on a daily basis and why I need to keep practicing it!!
Today in the CFT course online was a good reminder of what Mindfulness is and what it isn’t – it’s easy to get confused with all the information on social media!
Myths of Mindfulness
- It is not a quick fix – it takes practice to build the muscle of mindfulness
- It is not emptying the mind or NOT thinking
- It is not relaxation or complacency or religious (although many religions use types of mindfulness including prayer)
- It is not a distraction or escape or avoidance or dissociation
- It is not positive thinking although it can be the ground on which to cultivate gratitude, compassion and loving kindness
Mindfulness is being with what is as it is:
Mindfulness is defined as purposefully and nonjudgmentally paying attention to the present moment, as if your life depended on it. ~Jon Kabat Zin
Mindfulness is Focused Attention AND Open Awareness
Mindfulness might be asking you to bring your attention to a specific focus/anchor (e.g. breath, sound, affirmation, mantra, sensation, sight) OR it might be asking you to be aware of yourself being aware, letting different thoughts, sensations and emotions come and go and taking a step back from your immediate experience.
Mindfulness allows us to:
- Understand the nature of our mind (thoughts, feelings) and body (sensations, emotions)
- Increase our tolerance of distress
- Regulate our emotions and choose the way we respond
- Grow our wellbeing and resilience
- Prepare ourselves for receiving and giving compassion
28 Scientific Benefits of Mindfulness:
Please see here an article on the scientific benefits of mindfulness: https://technologyformindfulness.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/
Mindfulness in Counselling / Coaching
In almost every counselling / coaching session you will be asked to understand parts of your past, you will be supported to attune to the present and to create your future. Mindfulness is a fantastic tool for supporting you to come back into the present moment, to tune into your sensations, thoughts and feelings and to create a pause before you react so you can choose how to respond to many different situations, creating a new future. This takes practice both informally and formally AND both in the counselling/coaching session and in daily life.
If you would like to learn more about how mindfulness practice can support you to change your habits and patterns, cultivate courage, compassion and connection to grow, heal and enjoy life more please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lasting Connection
This book The Lasting Connection by Michaela Thomas is one of the best I have read on relationships; understanding relationships and how to bring compassion and mindfulness to yourself and your partner in relationships – HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! I’m putting these strategies into my own life and am looking forward to bringing them into couples counselling. I’ve also really enjoyed Michaela’s podcast Pause, Purpose, Play…and her strategies on how to deal with perfectionist thinking with compassion.