Mindfulness can be defined as the act of being present, an awareness on the present moment. As simple as this sounds, most of us struggle with being present and aware in our day to day lives. You can probably recall times when you have driven to a destination only to realize you don’t “remember” getting there. Another great example is trying to make dinner, finish up with last minute emails and helping your kids with their homework all at the same time. American culture loves the idea of multitasking – efficiency. However, most research into multitasking shows that it doesn’t work very well. We can do several tasks at a time, but we aren’t doing them very well.
Mindfulness is about being present in what you are doing, and not judging or labeling something as “bad” or “good”. Some experts believe that mindfulness helps people to accept their experiences, even the painful emotions, rather than avoiding them.
In my practice I teach mindfulness skills along with psychotherapy because these skills are so effective with decreasing anxiety and depression. They share a common goal with cognitive behavioral therapy in that they help people gain a new perspective on negative and self-defeating thoughts and they allow the individual to gain some skills in being present minded – a place where real acceptance and change can happen.
Below is an excerpt from one my mindfulness sessions: