We at Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness are firm believers in the power of mindfulness for mental health. If you struggle with negative self-perception, anxious thoughts, or unhealthy beliefs about your world, mindfulness may be the best approach for overcoming these thinking habits. By incorporating mindfulness into our therapeutic work, we help our clients understand and feel more control of their thoughts and emotions.
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”Eckhart Tolle
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being fully present in your current situation. Instead of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness empowers you to focus solely on here and now. The practice helps you feel more attuned to your surroundings and to your internal experiences, and it allows you to respond to challenges without being overly reactive.
Mindfulness is not the baseline state of being for most people. We’re so often absorbed by what’s behind or ahead of us that we struggle to feel truly present. It takes practice to strengthen the pathways in the brain and retrain them to stay in the present.
What Is Mindfulness Based Therapy?
Mindfulness based cognitive therapy, or MBCT, is a form of counseling that combines mindfulness, cognitive therapy, meditation, and other mental health techniques. For many people, the combination of these approaches provides a powerful opportunity to work toward wellness.
The foundation of cognitive therapy is the idea that your negative thinking patterns lead to negative emotions, and these negative emotions result in psychological disorders. By challenging your unhealthy and unhelpful thoughts, you can break the cycle and improve your emotional health.
To successfully recognize and correct your negative thinking patterns, you must be an unbiased observer of your own thoughts. It’s not easy to take a step back from your own mind and assess whether or not your beliefs about yourself and the world are true. This is where mindfulness becomes such an important part of the MBCT process.
MBCT encourages you to notice your thoughts and emotions without judgment. The more you incorporate the mindfulness approach into your life, the easier it becomes to detach from your negative thoughts, recognize that they’re unhealthy, and replace them with more positive and constructive thoughts.
Mindfulness is the intentional process of paying attention, without judgment, to the unfolding of moment-by-moment experience.”Tara Brach
Benefits of Mindfulness Therapy
Anyone can benefit from mindfulness therapy and meditation. MBCT is especially valuable for people struggling with depression or other mood disorders as it heightens your emotional awareness. During MBCT, you learn to recognize and reassess the automatic negative thoughts that have caused or worsened your depression, which helps you relate more positively to yourself and to your environment.
Even after doing extensive mental health work, you may still experience some unhealthy automatic thoughts. Our brains are incredibly habitual, so fully breaking free of long-standing thinking patterns is difficult. However, with the help of MBCT, you can move through those recurring thoughts without feeling an emotional reaction.
MBCT can be an effective treatment approach for anxiety disorders as well. Anxiety is an automatic emotional reaction, and MBCT helps you assess whether your anxious feelings are appropriate or unwarranted.
What to Expect During MBCT
The main goal of MBCT is to incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities. You may start by practicing mindfulness while you complete a simple task, such as making your bed or brushing your teeth. Eventually, mindfulness will become so habitual that it feels like your typical state of being.
MBCT programs provide an excellent opportunity to learn mindfulness from a professional and connect with others who are working toward similar emotional goals. You don’t need to attend a group MBCT class to benefit from mindfulness, though. Many counselors incorporate mindfulness therapy into their individual sessions.
At Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness, we recognize the value of mindfulness-based therapy for addressing a wide variety of mental health concerns. We often use MBCT techniques alongside other therapeutic approaches to offer a comprehensive treatment plan. By combining cognitive therapy techniques with the spiritual elements of mindfulness, we work with our clients to achieve long-term wellness.
If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental or emotional concerns, we are here to help. Mindfulness therapy can be a profoundly impactful experience both for short-term mental health goals and long-term emotional well-being. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation or an appointment.