What is Mindfulness?
Wikipedia defines Mindfulness as “a state of active open attention on the present.”
Mindfulness is a way of being more present in your body, your thoughts and your emotions. It is about being with your experience without judgment. Although its roots stem from Eastern traditions, it is now gaining importance in Western medicine as a powerful tool for healing the mind and body. Techniques vary but essentially involve various meditative methods that produce inner balance and a great sense of control. Its principles include awareness, trust, acceptance, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness and loving kindness.
Mindfulness is a three-part practice—meditation (concentration), mindfulness and loving- kindness. Extensive research has shown that a practice of Mindfulness is effective in reducing distress. As such, these practices have been found to be effective in dealing with many psychological and medical conditions, such as stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, headaches, fatigue, cancer and gastrointestinal, dermatological and cardiovascular disease. Mindfulness based practices are now a key element in the treatment of addictions, helping addicts in recovery to find a peaceful center and stay sober. Mindfulness brings with it a greater capacity for self-regulation and better sense of well-being. Deeper levels of awareness enable us to more effectively experience life and the world around us.
What Will You Learn in Mindfulness Training Or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?
Through these practices we learn what Viktor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning, said long ago – “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” These practices help us notice that space and have a new and different experience.
Frankl said we cannot control others but we can control our reactions. It’s not about the event it’s about our experience of the event. And it’s not about constant peace; it’s about “short moments, many times” according to Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher who is responsible for having brought Eastern practices to the United States and with whom Dr. Winter has studied.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a series of exercises designed to reduce stress, anxiety, pain and other hard-to- manage symptoms in everyday life. Having drawn the original roots from his teachings of Buddhism and yoga, MBSR was developed and made popular by Jon Kabat-Zinn at U-Mass Medical School. MBSR has received tremendous attention in mental health treatment and research during the last two decades.
In Mindfulness practice you will learn:
- to cultivate greater awareness of mind and body
- to be present and remove judgment
- to feel a greater energy
- to respond with intention to stress
- to pause
- a greater capacity to cope with stress and tension
- skills that will open a space of joy
- to be still and feel
How Can Mindfulness Training Help Me?
Mindfulness training has a number of well-researched benefits. Daily practice can help improve:
- stress reduction
- enhance mood
- anxiety reduction
- depression reduction
- enhanced memory and attention
- increased focus and concentration
- present awareness
- increased creativity
- reduce reactivity and anger
- reduce chronic pain
There is no escaping the trauma and stress we meet daily. Having a mindfulness practice should be incorporated into everyone’s daily routine. Dr. Winter herself has worked with teachers such as Mark Epstein MD, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield PhD, for both personal and professional enhancement. She uses various techniques such as mindfulness meditation, body scanning, awareness training and loving-kindness to assist with stress reduction, increasing balance and focus and overall healing. She can help you cultivate these practices into your daily life.
What Holds You Back from Getting the Help you Need?
“I can’t meditate” . . .Beginning a practice of meditation for the first time can be a challenging, especially in today’s world. However, it can be done. A couple of key elements are practice, and starting over. I often suggest practicing twice a day for three months for five minutes before deciding as to whether or not it can help.
“I’m too busy and just don’t have the time” . . . Meditation doesn’t have to take a lot of time. While Deepok Chopra is known to meditate two hours each day, new research shows that just five minutes of a daily meditative practice can help still the mind.
“I see mindfulness everything . . yet everyone I know is still frenetic” . . .First, its possible those people do not use mindfulness. Secondly, mindfulness is a practice that needs attention. With practice while there are still things in your life that create chaos and challenges, you will respond different. You will be able to function like Mark Epstein MD talks about in his book. “Falling to Pieces without Falling Apart.”
If coping has become challenging and your pause button is in disrepair, mindfulness is for you. There is no time like the present. If you are ready to start the process or just have questions, please contact me via phone or email. Together we can help you get centered.