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Monday, September 9, 2013

Mindfulness Can Improve Your Life - Here's Why



I have been interviewed many times about Mindfulness. Below are my answers to some key questions to help you understand why mindfulness is more than just meditation and can be such a key component of a happy, healthy, and successful life.

What is Mindfulness?

 Melanie  “Developing an observing ego, becoming CEO of your own mind.”

Why is Mindfulness so popular these days?

Melanie  “I think part of it is that the science has advanced and mindfulness has been supported by brain science. People like hard evidence. Furthermore Google, Aetna, General Mills, and other respected companies have become interested in Mindfulness and Google even has a Mindfulness Officer. When Google does something, businesses and people follow. And then a third reason is the times. We have experienced substantial changes in the work and financial environment since the global recession and  the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan… I think that people feel they have less control over their lives. Faced with uncontrollable events the usual problem-solving coping strategies do not work as well anymore. People are looking for different solutions.“

What are some benefits of practicing Mindfulness?

Melanie: “Improved relationships, less anxiety and better health – less stress, better life balance. Studies have shown mindfulness lowers blood pressure and improves chronic pain as well as creating beneficial brain changes related to empathy, focus, and emotion regulation."

How can I begin to practice Mindfulness?

Dr Melanie: "Mindfulness means deliberately and gently guiding your attention to whatever you are noticing, thinking, perceiving, or sensing right at this moment.  You can begin in the shower or while washing dishes. Notice the warmth of the water, the smell of the soap, the sight of the bubbles, the feeling of being clean or making something clean. Notice what you are thinking and feeling. Are you in the moment or is your mind already doing the next errand or planning your day? Can you begin to slow it down and gently bring it back?"

Why choose a therapist who integrates Mindfulness with psychotherapy?

Melanie: "Mindfulness is kinder and more objective way of relating to your own thoughts and feelings, It can help you feel more comfortable with them, deepen your emotional experience, while at the same time making it more peaceful and less frightening. When psychotherapy leads to recollection of painful memories, Mindfulness is a powerful tool to keep you grounded and stop your brain's fear centers from taking over. With repeated practice, it can have an uplifting effect, making you more resilient and positive and less emotionally reactive. This helps you make faster progress in therapy as you with less pain and distress. You will have a powerful new tool to deal with feelings and calm your brain down."

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