Thoughts on mindfulness   by Annie Manning MASC (CBT)

Adopting the theory of mindfulness within CBT as believed and practiced by Buddhists is about learning to live positively in the moment. Making every day count and not living by dwelling on past negative experiences and/or living in fear of what terrible fate awaits one in the future but focusing on the here and now. Half of our deep seated worries will never come to fruition and the other half ….do not actually exist!

Shelford Chandler M.D. of Giant Steps Create (who run collaborative problem solving workshops) and I recently discussed the benefits of mindfulness and possessing a positive attitude and how these contribute to one’s innate creative ability, (we all have it apparently!)  It may be a cliché but ‘people buy from people’ we agreed anything one can do to improve how we interact and communicate is a bonus.

One can be aware of something without the necessity of allowing it to become all consuming, but opt to moving on to the next thought process to dilute its importance.  Standing back, reflecting, accepting and thinking ‘In the scheme of things’ one could soon realise the concerned thought is in fact trivia and not worthy of the time and mind space or level of anxiety.

‘The Buddhists believe that one should speak to the little imaginary bird sitting on one’s shoulder and ask everyday ‘Am I leading the life I want to live?’ Which I believe to be an excellent way of putting on the breaks and reminding us that life is short and each day should be treasured and enjoyed for what it brings as part of life’s rich tapestry.

Mindfulness is extremely useful for people suffering with perhaps depression or panic attacks in combination with learning breathing exercises and meditation. Clients are encouraged to try adopting a ‘here and now attitude’ and swapping misplaced fears and anxieties by initially acknowledging the thought, then choosing to distract themselves, remain calm and hopeful and not revert to an automatic state of being depressed, frightened or apprehensive.

Mindfulness is particularly successful for people with CBT issues which include; addictive behaviour and anxiety disorders –it works as a positive distraction switch and prevents the client from slipping back into old/habitual ways which are both harmful emotionally and physically.  A problem is only a problem if you chose to recognise/label it as such.   ©


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