Mindfulness is a practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment with curiosity, openness and acceptance (sometimes referred to as beginner’s mind). Mindfulness is based on centuries old Buddhist teachings and has been applied to many aspects of human suffering, struggle and difficulty including everyday concerns, depression, anxiety, physical symptoms, addictions, relationship issues, extreme and altered states, group conflicts and social tensions.
Mindfulness practices vary widely but can be as simple as taking three successive breaths and focusing one’s attention fully on inhaling and exhaling.
When you bring your attention to the present moment you can achieve a state of calm awareness of your body, feelings and mind. This meditative awareness is actually comprised of two parts: self-regulated attention and orientation to experience. Both are important aspects of the mindfulness practice that over time help you to recognize habitual patterns and allow you to respond in new ways.
Fixing one’s attention on the here and now enhances receptivity to inner wisdom and helps us to filter the distracting thoughts that dull our capacity to listen deeply to the guidance of the heart. In therapy, mindfulness practices can help us to slow down and establish new ways of relating to ourselves and the many demands of our lives.
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