Busyness seems to be at an all-time high. There never seems to be an end to the list of things to do, places to be, or responsibilities to meet. Work commands much of your attention during the week. Children need to be shuttled to and from school as well as their extracurricular activities. Friends check in throughout the week to see how you’re doing or if you want to hang out.
Competition for your attention is in no short supply either. Your smartphone pushes an average of 46 notifications to you every single day. News channels run shocking stories one after another to keep you on the channel. Social media feeds are designed to keep you locked in an endless scroll. Streaming services make it easier than ever to watch 10 episodes of a TV show right in a row.
It’s no surprise that many people feel overwhelmed throughout the day and drained at night. The constant inundation from various sources of stimulation can get exhausting. It’s easy to slip into autopilot and move through your days without much thought if you aren’t careful.
While you may not have control over most things that happen around you, you do have control over what you devote your attention to. Mindfulness is a practice that encourages you to live intentionally and be selective about what you choose to focus on. It is a helpful tool to push back against the fight for your attention and relieve the stress and anxiety that comes from endless busyness.
This new year, commit to developing a mindfulness practice in your daily life. Instead of letting outside forces dictate what you do with your day, cultivating mindfulness lets you determine what is worth your time and energy. How can dedicating yourself to the practice help you in the new year?
What is Mindfulness?
Have you heard of mindfulness before? What was once a mostly obscure Buddhist practice dating back more than 2,600 now sees widespread use as a mainstream therapeutic modality. It has grown tremendously in the last decade and advocates are quick to express the many benefits of cultivating mindfulness in daily life.
Do you ever find yourself trapped by regrets about the past or fears about the future? Putting your focus anywhere but the here and now is one of the main causes of anxiety and stress. Mindfulness simply means bringing your awareness to the present moment. It is the practice of intentionally drawing your attention to what is going on within you and around you.
Learning to incorporate mindfulness into your life helps you gently pull your mind back to reality when it begins to wander. It empowers you to make intentional decisions about your time instead of leaving yourself at the whim of whatever distractions are around you. Mindfulness saves you from morbid reflection, obsessive worry, and living life on autopilot.
When used in a therapeutic environment, mindfulness techniques are often referred to as mindfulness-based interventions. The ABC’s of mindfulness-based interventions is a simple way to explain how the practice works as a form of mental health treatment.
A stands for developing awareness. Awareness is the foundation of all mindfulness practice, whether as a spiritual practice or a mental health intervention. This includes both personal and environmental awareness. Understanding what is going on within you, around you, and your internal response to your external environment helps you remain engaged in the present.
B stands for being with experience. Once you have a deeper awareness of your mind and body you can begin learning to lean into difficult situations with an attitude of acceptance. While your natural response is to push away from challenging experiences, mindfulness teaches you to accept what is happening around you without having to engage or react.
C stands for making wise choices. After you develop mind and body awareness and learn to sit with difficult circumstances, now you start to build clarity on determining the best choices. You develop the skills to make adjustments when decisions don’t turn out as planned. The more you practice your mindfulness, the more educated and informed your choices become.
Benefits of Incorporating Mindfulness
There are many different benefits of incorporating a mindfulness practice into your life. The benefits of mindfulness have long been recognized by those who use it in a spiritual approach. However, mindfulness as a therapeutic approach also has myriad benefits. According to the American Psychological Association, the benefits of mindfulness practices include effects such as:
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Reduced rumination and busy thoughts
- Lower stress levels
- Boosted memory and attention span
- Increased focus
- Less emotional reactivity
- More cognitive flexibility
- Greater satisfaction in relationships
- Enhanced self-awareness and self-insight
- Increased self-esteem
- Strengthened sense of empathy and compassion
- Deeper sense of intuition
- Stronger ability to manage fear
- Better overall quality of life
Is Mindfulness Really Effective?
Mindfulness may sound great in theory but how well does it really work? After all, there’s no point in incorporating a practice that won’t benefit you in the long run. What do studies have to say about the effectiveness of mindfulness in today’s day and age?
According to research, the self-regulation skills developed through mindfulness practice foster mental well-being, calmness, clarity, and concentration. One study, in particular, showed that the group who incorporated mindfulness experienced fewer symptoms of depression, less rumination, better memory, and more sustained attention levels.
Mindfulness does not currently seem to be more effective than other forms of psychotherapy. At the same time, evidence also suggests that it serves as a sufficient alternative treatment approach and complements other therapeutic approaches. It appears to be a beneficial treatment approach in its own right.
Mindfulness at Clearview Treatment Programs
Clearview Treatment Programs is a network of mental health and dual diagnosis treatment facilities in Los Angeles, CA. We’ve served as a leader of the mental health treatment space in Southern California for over 20 years, dedicated to helping men and women find freedom and recovery from their struggles with mental illness and substance abuse.
At Clearview, we know that mindfulness is a crucial skill that can help individuals learn to manage their more severe symptoms. Our specialized approach to treating mental illness makes use of the incredible value that mindfulness offers. Developed in conjunction with a range of psychotherapeutic practices, mindfulness makes up an important part of a well-rounded program.
Clearview Treatment Programs provides a continuum of care through our residential, day, and outpatient treatment programs. Clearview Treatment Programs offer individualized plans tailored to treat your specific symptoms and based on your needs.
Wondering whether Clearview Treatment Programs is right for you? Reach out to us to speak with an admissions specialist today! We’re here to walk you through the process and find the treatment path that’s right for you. Whether you’ve been in a mental health treatment program before or this is your first-time seeking help, Clearview Treatment Programs is here to help.
Please get in touch with us today – we never want you to feel alone in your battle against mental health again.