An exciting approach that is gaining momentum and acceptance in Western counselling approaches is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to one’s mental, emotional, and physical experiences in a nonjudgmental way, in the present moment. Also critical to the experience of mindfulness is a spirit of compassion toward oneself and life in general.
How mindfulness works to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing has received a great deal of scholarly attention recently. There are thought to be five mechanisms by which mindfulness may help you to achieve improved well-being:
- Exposure – by attending to unpleasant states, we learn that they are most often fleeting and not in actual serious danger,
- Nonattachment – the act of attending to the present moment without desiring to change it has been shown to be related to improved well-being,
- Insight – recognizing that our thoughts and feelings are not necessarily accurate representations of ourselves or reality, and through such insight we may be in a better position to detach from harmful thoughts and emotions,
- Relaxation – attending to the present moment mindfully allows us to access higher level needs, and
- Integrated functioning – attending to our present state of being allows our bodies to better self-regulate and function in a healthy manner.
Our counsellors can help you practice mindfulness skills and learn to live more fully in the present, with a compassionate attitude.