Mindfulness is the new buzzword these days. With recent attention in the popular media and an explosion of published research showing benefits for conditions from cancer to depression, it seems that everyone is intrigued by this new therapy approach. But what is it?
Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention on purpose, to the present moment, non-judgmentally. By practicing paying mindful attention we can change our experience, and find greater emotional freedom and calm.
Mindfulness in psychotherapy can be transformative. It allows us to take a radically different approach to our difficult emotions. With practice we develop an ability to change the way we relate to challenging experiences. We become less gripped by our feelings, which creates more flexibility and choice in our thinking. With more choice we can live life with more ease.
A large body of research has shown mindfulness therapies to be effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety, and to as effective as antidepressants in preventing future depressive episodes. Early stage research is showing that mindfulness may also be helpful in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.