Mindfulness is the intentional, nonjudgmental self-focus on one’s thoughts and feelings as they occur in the moment. The practice of mindfulness dates back thousands of years to Eastern religions. Mindfulness therapy often embraces the psycho-spiritual wisdom of East and West to establish a skillful and compassionate recovery environment.
Mindfulness helps people tap into their natural ability to be present and aware of where they are and what they’re doing. It inhibits being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on in one’s life. In addiction treatment, it is often combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. It can be practiced through yoga, meditation, relaxation therapy, guided meditation walks, individual and group mindfulness instruction, Native American and contemplative tools or connections to nature.
People struggling with mental illness or addictions often have self-hatred or low self-esteem. Mindfulness enables cultivation of innate qualities through simple practices, thereby improving one’s state of mind and delivering therapeutic effects. Mindfulness facilitates a state of acceptance, the ability to look at life in a nonjudgmental manner and reduces the time individuals spend focusing on depressive thoughts. Some experts believe mindfulness helps people accept painful emotions, rather than avoiding or reacting negatively to them.
Mindfulness helps people learn a healthier method for dealing with irrational, maladaptive and self-defeating thoughts. People learn to be kind and forgiving toward themselves and others. Research shows mindfulness can bring improvements in physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in attitudes and behaviors. Benefits include: