A Guide to Mindfulness for Mental Health

A Guide to Mindfulness for Mental Health

Spread the love:

It seems that wherever you turn these days, resources for mindfulness for mental health are there— or people want it to be there. And for something this amazing, many good mindfulness-based resources are needed.

Each day, we are approached by people who want to learn mindfulness for mental health and wonder how to best go about it. Maybe mindfulness for mental health has deeply touched your own life. And now you want to start sharing that experience or platform and how it helped you. Or maybe you have been asked by some of your close friends and relatives as to where to start a mindfulness class.

You know what mindfulness is— kind of. Or perhaps you have taken some classes, and have a solid personal meditation practice, yet you still don’t feel like you have the exact tools to get started with mindfulness. Maybe you have looked into how to start practicing mindfulness for mental health programs, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), but you’re not (yet?) ready to call yourself a true devotee or an experienced learner.

If you fit the above-mentioned scenarios, or any situation resembling them, you’ve come to the right platform/article. Read the full article to learn more about how mindfulness for mental health affects every aspect of our life.

Related: Practicing Real Happiness with Mindfulness

Mindfulness for Mental Health: The Basics

What study after study shows is that meditation and mindfulness for mental health training profoundly affect every aspect of our lives— our bodies, minds, physical health, and our emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s not quite the fountain of youth, but it’s pretty close. When you consider all the benefits of meditation— and more are being found every day— it’s not an exaggeration to call meditation a miracle drug… — Arianna Huffington, Thrive

“Mindfulness” is on the cusp of becoming a household word. It’s not only entering hospitals and clinics but major organizations and businesses are training their leadership or even all employees in mindfulness for mental health and stress reduction. It is covered extensively in the popular press, it’s on talk shows and magazine covers. One could say that it enjoys quite a celebrity status these days.

But, what is Mindfulness for mental health? What is the promise of mindfulness that makes it so attractive?

Mindfulness is a common English word that simply means “paying attention.” But the act of paying attention isn’t what everybody is so excited about it. “Mindfulness” in this context means paying attention in a particular way.

We like the working definition of Jon Kabat- Zinn, the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR):

Mindfulness is awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a sustained and particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. It is one of the many forms of meditation if you think of meditation as any way in which we engage in-

1) systematically regulating our attention and energy,

2) thereby influencing and possibly transforming the quality of our experience,

3) in the service of realizing the full range of our humanity, and of

4) our relationship with others and the world.

Where is mindfulness experienced? In the present moment. Where are most of us, most of the time? Not in the present moment. Where are we instead? Usually, we are on autopilot going through the motions of whatever we are doing, such as eating, driving, even talking. At the same time, we are lost in thoughts, and the mind is busy with either rehashing the past or rehearsing the future.

In this way, we are missing our life as it unfolds moment by moment. Until we become skilled at mindfulness, we don’t fully understand the possibilities and power that lie within each moment. But being present in this moment is not enough.

Meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein quips that a dog is living in the moment yet is not mindful— since he is not aware of it. To be mindful, we have to be conscious of our awareness.

Here are some possible consequences of lacking awareness in the present moment:

  • We are not aware of how our mood colors our so-called objective experience. When we are in a bad mood, we will be more likely to hear a comment more critical than it was said or meant.
  • We might not be aware of how desire and aversion influence how we respond to our environment. Or as an Indian proverb goes: “When a thief sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets.”
  • We tend to carry tension and stress in the body without realizing it.
  • We miss a lot of potential positive and pleasant moments, like the smile of our kids or spouse, how nice the wind feels on our skin, or that we like the landscaping of the house we drive by every day.
  • Also, we might miss crucial information we need to make a good decision, like how we feel about a potential business partner.
  • We tend to hold on to unpleasant moments and experiences in our minds long after they are over, even if the present moment could be pleasant or neutral again.

While mindfulness is about directing and sustaining attention to the present-moment experience, it is not only about the fact that we are paying attention, but also about how we pay attention. Directing one’s attention purposefully is just one aspect out of the many presents in every given moment. We don’t pay attention in a vacuum.

Our perception is influenced by many different details:

Needs at the moment of perception, values, memory, cultural background, intention, and emotional state, to name a few.

Some mind states stand out for their support of mindfulness. The more we get familiar with the following attitudes in our everyday life, as well as in our meditation practice, the more they will co- arise with mindfulness— and the more we will deepen and accelerate the transformational process.

This is of particular importance for the mental health of mindfulness. The more these attitudes are understood and embodied by us, the more we facilitate our understanding and learning at the conceptual level.

Also Read: What Is Overthinking? And What Causes Overthinking?

Spread the love:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *