Cultivating awareness of one’s body, mind and present environment is a mindfulness technique that has therapeutic benefits in the treatment of a wide range of conditions and disorders. Mindfulness can help to:
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Help treat depression
- Help treat addiction
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce acute and chronic pain
- Enhance overall well-being
Mindfulness work is an essential part of Buddhism and involves paying attention, moment-by-moment, without judgment and with acceptance, to everything that is happening both within and around us. The concept and practice of mindfulness has been around for thousands of years in Eastern cultures. However, it is only recently that Western medicine has started to research and discover the myriad of improvements to physical and psychological health associated with its practice.
The benefits of mindfulness
The medical benefits associated with mindfulness are thought to derive from enhancing one’s ability for attention regulation, body awareness and emotional regulation. Furthermore, it is thought to expand consciousness, leading to enhanced feelings of well-being.
By practising mindfulness, clients achieve more awareness of the present moment and learn to become more aware of the presence of negative, dysfunctional thoughts and destructive feelings. Only when an individual becomes aware of something can they begin to change.
Mindful awareness is often a big step in recognising where problems or difficulties exist, and how to address them. Such awareness is essential, since so many of us spend the majority of our lives on “automatic pilot” mode, completely unaware of who we are and why we behave the way we do.