How can Mindfulness therapy help?
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who suffer repeated bouts of depression and chronic unhappiness. It combines the ideas of cognitive therapy with meditative practices and attitudes based on the cultivation of mindfulness. The heart of this work lies in becoming acquainted with the modes of mind that often characterize mood disorders while simultaneously learning to develop a new relationship to them.
Mindfulness therapy can help with
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Obsessive compulsive disorder.
- Concentration and focus with daily tasks
Benefits of Mindfulness Therapy
- Recognise, slow down or even stop negative, habitual reactions
- See situations with more clarity
- Respond more effectively to situations
- Enhance creativity
- Feel more balanced at work and at home.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, studies looking at the effectiveness of MBSR have reported the following benefits:
- 70% reduction in anxiety
- On-going reduction in anxiety after taking MBSR course
- Fewer visits to the doctors
- Increase in disease-fighting antibodies
- Better quality of sleep
- Fewer negative feelings, including tension, anger and depression
- Improvements in physical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and psoriasis.
The evidence has been so strong in fact that nearly three-quarters of GPs have said they feel all patients would benefit by learning mindfulness meditation.
Further studies into the role of mindfulness in the workplace are showing that it could improve productivity, decrease sickness absence and generally improve workplace well-being.
What else can mindfulness help with?
We have already discussed how mindfulness can be used to help people cope with issues such as stress, anxiety and depression, but what other issues could mindfulness help with?
Mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia looks to integrate behaviour therapy and sleep science with the meditation practices of mindfulness. The goal is to help increase awareness so individuals recognise and react accordingly to the mental and physical states that occur with chronic insomnia.
While initially, the idea of paying more attention to your physical sensations when you suffer from chronic pain may seem counter-intuitive, it is thought that mindfulness can help. The idea here is that instead of focusing on the negative thought patterns that emerge upon feeling the physical sensation of pain, sufferers should view their pain with curiosity. This is so the pain is experienced accurately as sometimes our minds can over exaggerate pain. Mindfulness for chronic pain is also thought to help teach individuals to let go of any expectations or future worries and instead focus on the present, dealing with physical/emotional reactions in a calm manner.
Treating negative behaviours such as addiction can be complemented with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as this looks to make the individual more aware of their emotions and how to deal with them, while simultaneously breaking harmful thought patterns.
Mindful eating is a useful practice that involves individuals taking time to experience their food and all the sensations surrounding eating. This can help those with disordered eating see food in a different light, as well as helping them to recognise when they are physically hungry/full without any associative emotions.