Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy was adapted from traditional mindfulness meditation practices originating from Buddhism. Mindfulness refers to intentionally being present in the present moment with acceptance and non-judgement. Although the term is of Buddhist origins, mindfulness is ubiquitous – a natural part of being human. We have all experienced at least moments of mindfulness, of being fully present to the present moment. During such moments, we often experience the vividness of small details and the potential richness of our experience. We become aware of the world around us and within us: the light filtering through the curtains, the smell of the neighbours’ dinner, the percussive rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker, the pulse in our fingertips, our fleeting thoughts and emotions, our own breath.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), the most widespread form of Mindfulness-based therapy was originally developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn to help prevent relapse in people who had recovered from depression by reducing psychological distress. In mindfulness-based therapy, practitioners teach participants to become more aware of thoughts and feelings and to change their relationship with them. Mindfulness allows one to step back from thoughts and feelings during stressful situations rather than engaging in anxious worry or other negative thinking patterns that might otherwise escalate a cycle of stress reactivity and contribute to heightened emotional distress.
During mindfulness-based therapy, participants learn a variety of meditation practices, including seated and walking meditations, a body scan that is done lying down or standing up and yoga. Many practices begin with focusing attention on breathing. As their attention wanders, participants are encouraged to accept and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings and redirect their attention back to their breathing. As the program progresses, participants develop a more direct exploration of difficult sensations, feelings and thoughts. We learn to look at these difficult sensations, feelings and thoughts as passing “weather” as opposed to states of being outside of our control.
Sari LaBelle is available for private sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. To book your appointment or for further information contact Sari at 875.5739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.