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What is Mindfulness Meditation & How Does it Apply to Real Life?

Clinical Psychologist, Nur Buyukbebeci

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November 22, 2022

What is Mindfulness Meditation & How Does it Apply to Real Life?

meditating in space

What is Mindfulness Meditation & How Does it Apply to Real Life?

Mindfulness-based approaches in psychotherapy are relatively new and are considered to be third-wave psychotherapy approaches. Practitioners are recently using mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction therapies in clinical settings. Mindfulness meditation is one of the techniques used within these approaches. It has several positive impacts on an individual's psychological well-being.

Mindfulness meditation is a self-regulatory practice for both body and mind

It mainly includes directing one's attention to the present and acquiring a state of consciousness in an accepting and non-judgmental manner. Meditation practice helps individuals to train their mind and body to be aware and observe their emotions simply as they arise and accept these emotional states instead of changing them.

Mindfulness is not something we can practice only within the mediation. We can bring awareness and joy with a mindfulness approach to our daily activities. Before I was introduced to mindfulness, I was would be careless about what type of food I consume and would eat whatever was available to get it over with the task. That unhealthy eating habit caused me to gain weight. Just consuming whatever is present without caring about the nutritional value of the ingredients caused me to practice an unhealthy diet. After I was introduced to mindfulness, I started to slowly care about my bad habits and their negative affects on my physical health. I also paid attention to slowing down during meals to practice mindful habits.

I was able to turn the food consumption process from a chore to an enjoyable and richer experience. I would eat the same soup, but it would taste better. By taking my time and drinking the soup slowly, I was able to pay my attention to the whole experience and would fill up sooner then usual. I also realized that, before practicing mindfulness, I was eating my thoughts, worries, and emotions rather than eating the food itself.

Just bringing my attention to the present moment without judging and being more aware of the harms of some ingredients helped me to make better choices. These conscious choices turned into healthier eating habits and eventually helped me build a healthier body and mind.

So, it is possible to experience positive changes in our lives by taking really small steps mindfully. We just need to be in this moment, be aware of the situation and approach our experiences non-judgmentally.

Regulate Your Emotions with Mindfulness Practices

Imagine that you have had a tough day at work, you are stuck in traffic on the way home, and your boss is calling to tell you that you have some extra work to do for the night. You are about to burst out of anger.

Anxiety Test 2023-08-21 at 12.38.07 PM.png

We can all experience a high level of negative emotions with intense feeling of pain. We usually ignore these feelings and sometimes we try to push them away to get rid of them. Most of the time, pushing them away does not work, and we might need something other strategies. During these times, emotional regulation skills such as mindfulness might be beneficial to cope with these negative feelings.

Emotion regulation skills can be developed and improved by various techniques.

Emotion regulation is a skill that helps individuals to master one’s emotions to reduce their intensity. Emotion regulation skills can be developed and improved by various techniques. The psychological impacts of mindfulness (enhancing awareness and acceptance of the present moment) can be strong facilitation of healthy emotion regulation. With regular mindfulness practices, it can be possible to cope with overwhelming emotions. In my practice as a psychologist, I mainly focus on awareness and mindfulness techniques with my clients who experience high impulsivity and negative affectivity. With mindfulness, they are learning to notice their emotions before it gets too intense to cope with. It’s a highly handy tool we use in all kinds of challenging emotions and especially in anger management.

People find a chance to recognize and name the emotions and explore the thoughts that could contribute to this emotion, and precipitating incident, by accepting the experience itself, slowing down, and staying in that moment. They also have a chance to see the different perspectives of the situation by observing them non-judgmentally. Meanwhile, they are diffusing from the intense emotional and bodily experience by moving to an explorer position rather than staying in experiencing position.

A mindful approach to emotions has changed most of my clients and my relationship with negative emotions. Now I approach challenging emotions as roses with thorns. If I try to push them away with my hands, my hands will bleed because of the pressure I put on the thorns. If I can just hold them softly and gently, I may feel a small discomfort but the thorns would not prick and hurt my hands. This gentle awareness allows me to hold and smell the roses.

meditating in space

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