Mindfulness for Mental Health
By Sonja Favaloro, Holistic Counselor
Mindfulness is quite a buzz word these days. Everyone from yogis to corporate leaders to school children are doing it. The benefits include: feelings of peace, connecting with your body, and being more present. These all sound like some appealing results! But you may still be wondering, what does mindfulness really mean, and how can it help me reduce my feelings of stress? Wanna find out!? Here’s the breakdown:
What does mindfulness help with?
You might want to try mindfulness techniques if you’re struggling with any of the following issues:
- Racing thoughts
- Problems with sleep
- Lack of energy
- Physical pain and discomfort
How Mindfulness Practices Reduce Stress?
1. Decrease Physiological Activation/Stimulation
In mindfulness-based counseling, therapists teach practices including breathing techniques, guided visualizations, body-calming techniques, and self-compassion practices. All of these techniques are designed to help you tune into what’s happening in your body and emotions so that you can calm and soothe yourself directly through the body. This works because when you are stressed out, your nervous system becomes activated. Mindfulness practices can help your body relax and come back to a feeling of safety and calm.
2. Mindfulness Changes Your Relationship to Thoughts/Thinking
Mindfulness also breaks the cycle of racing thoughts because it trains you to notice them without judgment or attachment. As you learn to remove attachment and judgment from your thoughts, you can better evaluate whether the thoughts are really true or beneficial. You can then let go of thoughts that are holding you back. There is a lot of freedom in recognizing that not every thought we have is true, or important, or helpful!
3. Expands You Beyond Stressful Experiences
Mindfulness also helps you to remember that you are experiencing so much more than your thoughts. We all can be connected to the sensations of our body, our emotions, and the joy and meaning of spiritual experiences. Mindfulness helps us reconnect with all of these parts of ourselves, giving us more tools for resilience and reducing stress.
“Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective, scientifically researched method for reducing physical and psychological suffering while building resilience, balance, and peace of mind… Scientific research at medical and research centers around the world suggests that MBSR can positively and often profoundly affect participants’ lives.” -The Brown School of Public Health Mindfulness Center
Want to try out mindfulness for yourself?
Stay tuned for Moksha Living’s upcoming Intentional Living Meditation Series . . . Coming this fall!
As a holistic mental health therapist, I see you as a whole person — your mental health challenges are not all that define you. You also have unique strengths, forms of resilience, and inner wisdom. I look forward to working with you to uncover and develop that inner strength and wisdom, as a means of both healing existing pain and creating new pathways towards the life you want. As a graduate student of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Naropa University, I offer a combination of mindfulness-based techniques and traditional psychotherapy that help you connect with your body, calm your nervous system, and feel grounded.