All too often we let our minds dictate our emotions and reactions, instead of choosing to be mindful. What does it mean to be mindful? Most people would say being mindful is synonymous with being thoughtful, considerate – thinking of others’ wants and needs. However, mindfulness is actually a cognitive process and requires real practice. During Mindfulness therapy, the goal is to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, to monitor and identify where thoughts originate, how they make you react, and making the conscious choice to change a specific thought pattern.
The team of experts at Guided Grace Family and Youth Services offers Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy sessions to help clients better understand and achieve mindfulness. This process requires a dedicated effort, setting aside time each day, every day in order to experience the benefits. Mindfulness affects your life in so many different ways, but we wanted to highlight five of the key benefits you will notice:
How Mindfulness Therapy Can Help
Rumination is the act of endlessly thinking. A thought, memory, or scenario is constantly being replayed in your mind as you reanalyze, and try to imagine different outcomes.
“I should have said…”
“How could they speak like that to me”
“Things would be different if I just did X”
Recalling and dealing with past events is totally normal and healthy behavior, in fact, it’s how we learn and grow. Rumination is something different. When you ruminate on past events, it becomes a vicious cycle of thinking and lowered mood. Studies show that Mindfulness helps us be cognizant of negative thought patterns, allowing us to catch ourselves in the act and make the conscious decision to let go and be positive!
Often a byproduct of rumination and unrestrained minds, stress is highly present in people who overthink and obsessively replay the past and anticipate future events.
Simply by gaining control over our minds, we create order and calm the mind. When your mind isn’t racing or running in circles, not only are you more relaxed, but you also now have the cognitive bandwidth to actually tackle present issues. Instead of being flustered and feel as though you can’t focus, mindfulness puts you back in control of your thoughts. This 2017 study conducted by Pascoe et al. highlights how mindfulness practice can, among many benefits, reduce stress.
Improve Focus With Mindfulness Therapy
As mentioned above, if your mind is allowed to run unchecked, it can deviate and stray from the task at hand without warning. Once your train of thought has veered away from the task you are trying to focus on, it can be hard to get back on track! Especially if your thoughts lead into a scenario that you tend to ruminate on, you can become stuck in the cycle of thoughts – losing all momentum towards your current focus.
Mindfulness training and therapy teach you to identify when you have lost focus. Oftentimes, people are unaware that they have gone off task, realizing 5,10, maybe 15 minutes later that you have been staring blankly into space instead of working. Mindfulness teaches us to be in control of our thoughts, to break the habit of a wandering mind, and ultimately bolster our ability to remain focused while avoiding unwanted distractions.
Manage Emotional Reactivity
Mindfulness training is also about controlling and regulating emotional responses. It can be incredibly enlightening to realize that emotions are very personal, and with that, understand that emotions are created by you and therefore can be controlled by you!
Expressing emotion is healthy and a normal part of the human experience. However, why in certain situations do some people become enraged and others simply shrug it off? Because we have a choice in our emotions! Your initial reaction to an event may be subconscious, but how you process and express emotions is actually a choice! Learning to control your emotional response can reduce the likelihood of angry outbursts or anxiety-based fear.
All of the benefits listed above culminate in an improved ability to develop and maintain healthy and positive relationships. Would you want to be around someone who isn’t present, is constantly lost in thought, won’t ever let things go, and is prone to emotional outbursts? As mentioned earlier, mindfulness training is partly about recognizing emotions and acknowledging how they make you feel, instead of allowing yourself to be overcome by them.
Mindfulness training and therapy can help you learn to effectively identify, process, and communicate emotions with your friends, family, and romantic partners.
Mindfulness Therapy Available in Saginaw, Michigan
If you or someone you know is often trapped in negative thought cycles, stressed, and unable to focus, Mindfulness Therapy and training could be right for you! The best way to know for sure is to consult with one of the professionals at Guided Grace Family and Youth Services. Don’t surrender control over your happiness, take control of your thoughts and emotions, and finally find your inner peace!
Call our offices to speak with a member of our team or schedule an appointment online today!