Frequently Asked Questions About Mindfulness-Based Therapy

Modern life sometimes makes people feel busy and distracted all the time. We’re living a fast-paced life with a brain wired to focus on short-term moments. Because of this, things often get overwhelming fast. Trapped within a cycle of negative thoughts, it’s easy to spiral into harmful or isolating behavior.

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With our minds trying to keep up, people are left vulnerable to anxiety, chronic stress, and depression. Recognizing patterns within our behavior, however, allows us to escape this cycle.

Mindfulness is a powerful concept that lets us live in the present. This involves paying close and non-judgemental attention to your thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Acceptance and compassion for yourself are deemed essential for this to work.

As a tool, mindfulness is effective in achieving overall wellness and good mental health. Numerous studies reported benefits such as increased relaxation, reduced stress levels, and increased creativity. There are various techniques you can use. Examples are controlling your breath and mindful meditation.

Therapy is already a proven process to help people process and work on their emotions and problems. Mindfulness-based therapy incorporates mindful principles to supplement programs. It mainly focuses on controlling and accepting thoughts and emotions. Allowing to let go of negative emotions, mindfulness imparts a positive impact during therapy. People achieve peace of mind and acceptance of themselves.

You may have more questions about what mindfulness-based therapy is. Here are some frequently asked questions about this practice.

What are mindfulness-based interventions?

Mindfulness-based interventions use mindfulness as a therapeutic approach. This strategy guides people into managing their emotions, thoughts, and feelings to improve their mental health. It utilizes various techniques such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), stress reduction, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Is mindfulness considered CBT?

Mindfulness-based therapy refers to a modified type of cognitive therapy. It incorporates mindfulness, like breathing exercises and meditation, to combat mental health problems. Like any CBT, it guides clients to identify negative thought patterns to break away from its negative effects.

What religion is mindfulness-based on?

Mindfulness came from the concept of sati, one of the most important Buddhist tradition elements. It also came from Vipassana, Zen, and Tibetan meditation techniques. These Buddhist traditions dive deep into how the experiences of an individual affect their mental state.

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What are some mindfulness exercises?

You can do mindfulness exercises through your everyday routine or therapy. The former may include living in the moment, paying attention, and focusing on breathing. It may also involve walking meditation (walking slowly in a quiet place) or sitting meditation (breathing through the nose while comfortably seated, keeping the back straight). It may also be through a body scan meditation where you have to focus all your attention on your body and deliberately touch each part as a relaxation practice.

Does mindfulness help with anxiety?

Various studies have proven that mindfulness helps combat anxiety and depression. This practice teaches individuals how to be aware of what’s happening in the present and how to respond to stress. This is helpful for people who tend to act impulsively and let emotions drive their decision. With mindfulness, awareness lowers the chances of experiencing anxiety.

What are the types of mindfulness?

There are three types of mindfulness: intention, attention, and attitude, which operate together to attain mindfulness-awareness. Intention refers to your primary aim of why you’re practicing mindfulness. This may revolve around the idea of more excellent emotional balance, stress reduction, or discovering your true self. The second type is attention, where you are tasked to pay attention to both your inner and outer journey. Lastly, an attitude refers to being aware of your individual attitudes like kindness, acceptance, and curiosity.

Is Mindfulness a psychological theory?

Mindfulness-based therapy is anchored on positive psychology theory. It emphasizes the importance of meditative and experiential practice as the primary driver for the transformation and personal growth and development. It enhances awareness of the emotion, thought, behavior, and even the somatic sensation.

Does mindfulness actually work?

Mindfulness works in terms of helping people relax, reducing reliance on medication, and managing chronic stress. However, there’s no specific evidence on what it scientifically does to the brain, to what extent it addresses physical and mental challenges, and how it influences overall health.

Who is the father of mindfulness?

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese peace activist and Buddhist monk is considered the father of mindfulness. He founded the Plum Village Tradition and spent most of his time in the Plum Village Monastery while traveling to different parts of the world to give talks and retreats. He taught that everyone could achieve peace of mind by finding happiness in every simple thing, such as eating an orange or sipping the tea. He also integrated different teachings such as the Mahayana Buddhist Traditions and Early Buddhism.

What are the 3 positive effects of mindfulness?

Mindfulness improves three aspects, mainly the well-being, physical, and mental. First, it contributes to creating a satisfying life where it teaches how to savor every facet of life by guiding how to deal with adverse effects and become fully engaged with social activities. It also addresses physical health. It helps relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, treat heart disease, and alleviate gastrointestinal problems. Lastly, it touches on mental health issues, where it serves as a supplementary treatment to depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and more.

Does mindfulness increase happiness?

Mindfulness increases happiness in various ways. It helps us level up our awareness of what’s happening both inside and around us without judgmental thoughts. Once we’ve set foot on that, it means we are accepting the realities of our lives. This is despite not liking what’s in front of you or not knowing whether it’s going to be alright in the future. All of this acceptance eliminates the hate and worry we have inside us; therefore, increasing the possibility of achieving happiness.

Is mindfulness the same as meditation?

Meditation and mindfulness play in the same sphere, but there are still things that do not overlap between these two. One example is that meditation takes the formal approach where a person is seated in a meditation practice. It’s an intentional practice to maximize deep breaths and focus your mind on finding that awareness, concentration, and emotional balance. On the other hand, mindfulness revolves around the act of being present and paying attention. It’s something that you can do anywhere, anytime, and with anyone.

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Supplementing your therapy sessions with mindfulness-based techniques has great benefits. Remember that practicing mindfulness is a journey and process. You may have a hard time accepting your emotions at first. Have patience in yourself and let go of judgemental thoughts you may have. This will also allow you to better respond to problems and challenges over time.

Mindfulness-based therapy’s main goal is to change patterns in your behavior eventually. How you approach things affects your thinking. Allowing a different perspective is helpful for stressful situations to come. Remember, you can use mindfulness techniques when needed to keep grounded in the present.

As you venture into using mindfulness techniques, expect an increased awareness of yourself. Aside from physical benefits, this could also bring increased happiness by welcoming realities present in your life. It’s also easier to build positive relationships that allow you to grow. Having this new outlook on life can be attained through conscious attention.

Though benefits are evident and proven, mindfulness itself is just a tool. You have to seek help to take the first step in caring for your mental health. Allowing yourself to process negative thoughts and behaviors is important to live a fulfilling life. Start with consulting with a therapist or mental health professional to see how mindfulness can fit in your life.

Mental Health Benefits Of Accepting That I Will Never Be Size 0

I was only 13 years old when the movie The Devil Wears Prada came out. When my mother saw promotional posters for it a week before its premiere, she was already excited because she loved Meryl Streep. Upon finding out that it was rated PG-13, Mom suggested that we should watch the movie as a family as soon as it was out.

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At the time, I was one of those teenage kids who did not want to do anything with their parents. I enjoyed being with my friends; I would rather hang out with them than go anywhere with Mom and Dad. However, like most teenagers, I got scared when my parents said they would confiscate my Nintendo if I didn’t join them for movie nights, so I obeyed them.

Before the show began, I asked Dad to buy a big bucket of popcorn, a large soda, some chips, and a corndog for me. Although I agreed to watch the movie, I intended to eat through the entire thing, considering I didn’t know the actors back then. But ten minutes into the film, I found myself transfixed to the enormous screen, my food forgotten.

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The reason was that Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestley, was too interesting to ignore. She was classy, bossy, and straightforward; though she did not seem to respect her subordinates, it showed that she wanted to know who was loyal to her. Every word that came out of her mouth was iconic; in truth, even if Miranda did not have a dialogue, her facial expressions and actions demanded attention. I loved the movie so much that I played it on DVD at least once a month that year – no exaggeration whatsoever.

The more I watched The Devil Wears Prada, the more I related to Anne Hathaway’s character, Andrea Sachs. She was a young journalist who wanted to write for a famous publication in New York – I wanted that, too. Since it was not easy to do that without connections, she worked for Miranda Priestly, even if she knew nothing about fashion. Once her commitment got questioned, Andrea began dressing well, emphasized by the video montage of her going to work in various designer outfits.

But several years after I watched the movie, one thing remained in my mind: you need to be size 0 in the fashion industry. That’s what Emily Blunt’s character strived for throughout the film because she wanted to look amazing once Miranda brought her to Paris Fashion Week. It did not happen because she got into an accident while she was running an errand for Miranda. Andrea naturally accompanied Miranda, showing off a slimmer figure, and everyone loved her for it.

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How It Changed My Mentality

Since I had been a size 6 for as long as I could remember, I thought of losing weight to become size 0, too. I worked out at the gym, played sports, went hiking, and even tried yoga. I also did intermittent fasting without my parents’ knowledge and reduced my mealtimes from thrice to once a day. 

After a month, I saw a positive change in my body. I lost 10 pounds, which I never imagined I could do. It was awful to avoid my mother’s delicious dishes, but I got used to saying no to them. But then, I became sad when I hit a plateau a couple of months later, which meant that I got stuck at size 4. While it was a significant achievement, it was still far from my dream of becoming a size 0.

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How I Changed My Mentality

I would have fallen into depression because of my weight if I didn’t get wind of plus-sized models like Kate Wasley, Barbie Ferreira, Tara Lynn, and Ashley Graham. I was nowhere near their body type, but there I was, moping over the fact that I could not be size 0. 

When I began to accept that it was impossible to achieve my dream size, I reverted to my old, healthy ways. I enjoyed Mom’s cooking again and stopped obsessing over calories. I refused to do intermittent fasting again unless it was for recalibrating my digestion. I also reduced my physical activities to hiking and going to the gym thrice a week to maintain my figure.

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Final Thoughts

I was only 16 years old at the time, but I already learned that my happiness did not depend on being size 0. I guess it was my luck that I realized that early; other girls needed to reach their 20s or 30s to figure that one out, and only after their slimming pills, teas, and programs did not work.

Will I still watch The Devil Wears Prada even if I have almost lost myself because I followed the characters’ lead? Of course! I just watched it again last night, and I will continue to do so for as long as I shall live. Even if I don’t watch it for their “words of wisdom” anymore, I still love the actors’ impressive acting, after all.

 

Cultivating Connectedness For A Positive Family Environment

 

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One of the most significant facets of a harmonious family is connectedness. It is the ability to support, communicate, and improve relationships between family members. Family connectedness is the shared or common emotional bond among parents, children, and siblings that persists for a long time. It creates a feeling of belonging, security, and comfort. Being connected implies that family members are comfortable and eager to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities, practicing family traditions, creating memories of quality time together, and giving each other freedom and space when necessary.

Several studies have revealed that the close connections between parents and children become a source of protection and strength. These apparently help reduce the incidence of many mental, social, and emotional problems, particularly among adolescents and teenagers. Connectedness is effective from the bottom all the way to the top. It doesn’t matter if you’re co-parenting or sharing parenting roles with an ex-spouse, family member, close friend, or significant other, or if you are a single parent. You can learn and practice a parenting technique that will work on cultivating connectedness.

Below are three steps to creating an effective parenting style.

Think about it. Take time to contemplate what kind of parenting style you want to use and enforce for your child. You can do it by yourself, with your spouse, or significant other. What do you expect in terms of your child’s behavior? Do you want to raise a focused, serious, and relatively dependent child? Or do you want him to grow up to be a carefree, headstrong, and compassionate person? What values do you wish for him to learn? How can you support your children so that they grow up to become successful adults?

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Make a plan. Try making some kind of a parenting plan or mission and vision, writing a list of the main aspects that are more relevant to you and your family, and put these on top of your list so you know that they are a priority.

Develop a scheme that encourages team parenting. If you have a partner, come to an agreement on the approach that you will use for your children and make sure you work on enforcing this approach as a team. For instance, when a small misunderstanding comes up, you can agree to settle it right away. However, more profound issues like problems in school or discipline issues must first be discussed in closed doors with only your partner or significant other and then talk to the child after you’ve come up with the appropriate solution.

Make room for errors. Just like other roles, parenting is not easy at all and no parent is perfect as well. Either the dad or the mom will commit errors in the way they discipline or approach their child. Whatever it may be, remember not to blame each other or show anger immediately. Disagreeing on this aspect will never help each other, nor does it benefit your children. Ultimately, if you’re having trouble agreeing on one thing, you can always reach out to a mental health professional that can provide help and guidance in finding common ground.

Indications of Good Family Connections

Each family member should feel loved, understood, and respected so that the atmosphere created in the home is comfortable and with strong and stable emotional connections between parents and children and between spouses as well. It is not uncommon for society to be inconsistent in cultivating good family connections. This is because nowadays there are a lot of devices and gadgets brought about by modern technology that we no longer find the time to communicate face to face through meaningful conversations and fun activities that foster togetherness and joy.

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Amidst our busy lifestyles, can you honestly say that you are effectively connecting with your children or your spouse?

The myriad of problems that your teens and adolescents are experiencing – drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, improper physical and sexual behavior, and self-isolation – are due to the lack of healthy and strong connections with their families. Even the younger generations that belong to rich families don’t feel successful and determined and go through the same things mentioned above just to get attention or have some kind of connection.

Study these questions below and assess how ‘connected’ your family is with each other. You may need this to help establish family connectedness.

Is eye contact present in your typical conversations? Making eye contact is something personal and is seen in families that are closely connected to each other.

Do you have set limitations with regards to responsibilities, privacy, and freedom? Family members have chores that are performed routinely, like children washing the dishes, mom doing the cooking, dad working, etc. Additionally, privacy should be respected. Children have the right to make time to play or do their hobbies while parents must have time out for themselves.

Do you care to check in with one another? A connected family always cares about how each is doing or if they feel okay. Children must feel comfortable to talk about their emotions and express them honestly and completely.

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Do you cultivate family values? A strong and stable family has rules and values that they call ‘theirs.’ Children are made aware of what values to cherish when we use the phrase ‘in our family’ – ‘In our family, we don’t yell, we just reason and talk,’ or, ‘in our family, we find ways to help each other.’

Do you show love as often as you can? Hugs and kisses are among the most evident gestures that you can do to show how much you love and honor your family. Do show them how much you love them. A small act of love will surely go a long way.

 

 

COVID-19: Things That Harm Your Mental Health

During this pandemic, you experience a lot of stress. Sometimes, you do things your way only to avoid stressing over the situation. However, have you ever wondered if you were maybe harming your mental health without even realizing it? Have you ever thought that perhaps some of your habits are the reason you are stressed and anxious? If you are not sure, you must identify the mental health pitfalls. That way, you can start improving your mental health.

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Having A Fixed Mindset

If you believe that your character and qualities are fixed and unchangeable, then you have a fixed mindset. It is a condition that damages your mental health because of the kind of reality you put in it. A fixed mindset can make you unwilling and unmotivated to learn because you already believe in the idea that you are incapable of a lot of things. It makes it impossible for you to embrace challenges, and sometimes you draw yourself to constant failure. Having a fixed mindset makes you think that a minor struggle is a sign that you need to quit doing what you are supposed to do.

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Being Stuck In The Past

If one of your daily occurrences happens to be a recollection of the past, and you often find yourself dwelling over things you should have done to control a particular situation, you might want to consider it a sign for mental health damage. The thoughts you repeat over and over in your head can cause mental exhaustion. This condition responds to negative emotions and gets associated with higher depressive symptoms over time.

Seeking Reassurance

In this time of the pandemic, nothing is assuring. All the things you do in life depend on how you adapt to the changing world. But if you always find yourself asking if you are doing something right, it is a sign that you are harming your mental health. Seeking excessive reassurance tends to involve depressive symptoms by potentially playing a role of vulnerability factor. The negative attitude contributes to unwanted stress and anxiety, as well.

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Intense Feeling Of isolation

Understandably, this pandemic situation is scary. The adjustments you have to take are not the ones you are used to, which can take a toll on your life. But if you feel all alone even if you are surrounded by caring individuals, especially on difficult times, then that’s a red flag. You are harming your mental health the moment you think that no one is there for you in this unfortunate time. Such thoughts lead to pressure on your emotional and mental health.  Often, it gets predictive of future depressive episodes as well.

Ignoring Mental health Days

Have you ever spent a moment for yourself to think, reflect, and internalize thoughts? Have you tried making an extra effort in putting your emotional and mental health first before anything else? If you are always busy and you forget to take an off from the stress even for a day, there is a chance that you might suffer from a mental breakdown. If you don’t take a step back from all the toxicity that is happening in your life during this pandemic, you might not mentally survive from a complete burnout.

Take a step back and seek guidance if you need to. The BetterHelp app is an online counseling platform that aims to guide you into managing your mental health despite life’s challenges. Their professional and credible therapists are ready to talk to you anytime, anywhere. If you want to know more about it, visit their official Facebook account.

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Setting Unrealistic Expectations

It is crucial in this time to think passively. However, if you continuously convince yourself to get unattainable ideals, and often look for perfection, that’s a huge mental health mistake. Having high expectations lead to disappointments. Facing disappointments over and over can make you lose faith in yourself and others. It becomes a reason for you to self-destruct. It takes away your motivation because of the thought that nothing in this situation plays out the way you expected.

Self-Care Guide While Practicing Social Distancing

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization challenges itself in sustaining a safety measure to avoid people getting infected with the disease since there is no cure for it yet. Therefore, they come up with a solution that wants the countries of the world to follow. That is how social distancing becomes a top priority. It becomes entirely crucial in managing the spread of the virus. However, who would imagine how challenging and hard social distancing is, especially in times when people are used to social interaction? And the idea of being alone or surrounded by limited people for weeks and months, it is causing everyone cabin-fever.

While self-isolation and social distancing are challenging, you should not be miserable. You must understand that its purpose is to provide security in uncertain times like this. Social distancing is a significant first step to look after your health and navigate through physical, emotional, and mental stability. So without further ado, here are the self-care guides you can do while maintaining distance from other people during this pandemic.

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Managing Your Needs

When your movements are restricted, it quickly disrupts you from your daily routine.  Therefore, you find yourself separated from family and friends. Sometimes, you find yourself struggling with loneliness, boredom, anxiety, and even depression. There are unwanted levels of worries of uncertainties of how things are. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the things you need not just to survive the pandemic situation, but to thrive in living as well. Some of the essentials you need to have are medications, toiletries, clothing, and food. You also need provisions to source out entertainment to avoid mental health issues. You can include having board games, books, television, and even a smartphone.

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Stop Over-Doing The Checking

Be mindful to only check the pandemic updates from time to time. Never allow yourself to indulge in the unfavorable situation of the world because it will only increase the level of anxiety and stress you may be having. You can keep up to date with what’s happening, but only tune in to trusted news sources. Never allow yourself to branch out different information as this only leads to confusion and mental torture. Understand that the information that is well-presented and trust-worthy helps reduce stress and anxiety.

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Reach Out To People

Reaching out to people such as your friends and family can help reduce loneliness and boredom during this crisis. Note that you don’t have to be afraid of telling your loved ones how you currently feel. It is okay to express your sadness, confusion, and loneliness relating to the effects of the pandemic in your life. Take time to enjoy the company of others as much as you can. Focus on the memories you are making with them, even for a little while. Understandably, personal communication is restricted. But you can always find other options to connect, such as using your mobile device or computers.

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Focus On Getting Better

Undoubtedly, this situation is stressful. However, instead of complaining about it, you should enjoy each day. Always keep your emotional and mental health intact so that you can fight the anxiety and stress this global health crisis is giving you. Try writing a journal and list down the things you are thankful for. Also, remember to take deep breathes regularly to ease your mind from negative thoughts. Stretch your body and do a little exercise as well to help boost your immune system. Just focus on getting better every day.

Social distancing is not a bad thing. Despite how many of us look at it as a challenging task, it serves a purpose to keep us safe from getting Coronavirus infection.

The Connection Of Romantic Relationships To Body And Mind

The question that will arise at this time is – Can a romantic relationship makes an impact on one’s overall well-being? Facebook can answer it in one of its phrases – It’s complicated. Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t guarantee one to achieve their desired health goal. Particular research found out that for a person to increase their chances of avoiding illness, one must adopt healthier habits to live longer and get involved in a secure and stable partnership. Contrary to that, troubled relationships lead both parties to welcome stress and have a high tendency in having weak immunity.  

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Excellent Diet for the Mind and Body

Crazy enough for many people not to believe that there’s a single best diet to achieve optimum health by looking to their favorite celebrities being hooked to fad diets. Ranging from the absurd to ridiculously unaffordable, these celebrity diets often make their followers do so. Little they do know that there are other alternative diets that they can make out of their refrigerator’s supplies. And one of these is the Mediterranean diet. 

 

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Mental Health Benefits of Team Sports

Quite lately, topics about mental health flood radios, TV stations, newspapers, and the online world. It may be the effect of celebrities coming clean about their past mental problems kept long hidden to the public. Many people also question if modern living causes this epidemic. Is it? The truth is, the world’s social media that influence almost all people is the real culprit for this issue. Mental health issues were not a big concern fifty years ago compared to the present times.  

 

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Food Warriors Against Cancer: Healing Through Eating

Cancer is a debilitating medical condition that is caused by cell mutation. Experts also point out to stress as the initiator of cancer genesis. Mind-body healing provides many alternative ways to combat cancer and prevent it from happening. One strategy is through the selection of the food that we eat every day. 

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