Why Mindfulness Is Important in the Treatment for Anxiety and Depression
In the past few years, mindfulness is a term that has risen in popularity. In fact, nowadays there are therapeutic approaches that accept mindfulness as a tool to promote both physical and mental health. These interventions have been utilized in therapy and can help patients suffering from depression and anxiety to relieve their symptoms and to help them prevent a relapse. In this article, we will take a closer look at mindfulness and its benefits.
What Mindfulness Is?
Mindfulness is a technique, or a set of mental skills, that helps you become fully aware of the present time. In essence, it is a form of meditation that allows you to focus on here and now, instead of dwelling in the past or being scared of the future. The key to successful mindfulness is to reconnect to the present in a non-judgmental fashion.
How Can You Practice Mindfulness?
As we have already mentioned, mindfulness aims to help you find your footing in the present, without keeping unpleasant thoughts that make you lose your focus. Becoming mindful requires commitment and persistence as the process can be rather overwhelming in the beginning.
The steps to practicing mindfulness are that following:
01. Take a comfortable seated position. Try to sit with your back straight and make sure that you can comfortably stay in this position for a while.
02. Direct your attention to your breathing. Mindfulness aims to increase your attentional ability, rather than help you relax. Try to focus on your breathing and notice the way your muscles move as you let air in and out of your body. Keeping your focus on your breathing will help you become more aware of your presence.
03. Take note of your thoughts. Especially in the beginning, you will often notice that your mind starts wandering. Whenever this happens, try to redirect your attention back to your breathing.
Nowadays, mindfulness-based interventions have been widely incorporated into therapy sessions for various mental health issues. These interventions are the following:
· Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): is used in cases of recurrent depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, panic attacks, attention deficit hyperactivity, and posttraumatic stress.
· Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR): is used in cases of depression, anxiety, stress, and chronic pain.
· Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): is used in cases of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality, self-harm, substance dependence, and eating disorders.
· Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT): is used in cases of anxiety, depression, psychosis, and substance dependence.
All of the above interventions have been used by mental health professionals because they have realized that mindfulness can help patients separate themselves from negative thoughts. Once a state of awareness is achieved, the professional can try different therapeutic approaches to prevent other negative effects.
Mindfulness is a practice that can help patients suffering from depression and anxiety, especially when combined with cognitive therapy.