Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Living in the past correlates with depression.  Living in the future correlates with anxiety.

Mindfulness is an idea whose roots reach back to ancient eastern meditative philosophies and practices.  A simple definition of mindfulness is difficult because of its many subtleties and ultimately trying to understand it with words is like trying to describe how to swim or ride a bicycle without ever trying it. 

A simple definition of mindfulness must include at least two main points:

  • Learning to accept living in the moment
  • Learning to see thoughts and feelings for what they really are

Mindfulness is not:

  • a replacement for therapy
  • a religion
  • a method for distraction
  • a relaxation strategy
  • a meditative way to get rid of unwanted feelings or thoughts
  • a replacement for facing difficult problems
  • a replacement for taking action

Meditation is about learning to accept what we cannot change.

Mindfulness is also about broadening out attention.  It is a way to actually practice more fully feeling and accepting what each moment brings, including unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  Ironically, acceptance may assist us in reacting in new and changed ways.  Acceptance of thoughts and feelings may open an opportunity that paradoxically trying to force change may not have succeeded in creating.

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