The Benefits of Mindful Therapy

The Benefits of Mindful Therapy

Mindful therapy is especially important to one's mental health than ever before. In the exhausting reality of the fast-paced world we live in and technology occupying so much of our attention and many aspects of our everyday lives. There are very few quiet moments in our day for us to evaluate ourselves and the current state of our lives. Our minds are like any other piece of machinery. Without proper care and maintenance, they don't function at their fullest potential. Without approaching our minds with a conscious perspective, it's very easy for our minds to take control over us. The constant thoughts and feelings that invade our consciousness every day. Most people's minds are moving so quickly that they never have a chance to process and properly reflect. Amid this whirlwind, the mind and body can begin to feel fatigued. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed and under fulfilled, which can lead to a lack of drive to pursue forth with ambition, striding toward what we set our sights on. The benefits of mindful therapy begin to shine once we are guided introspectively and allow ourselves the opportunity of understanding and redefining ourselves in a positive way. True healing is found within, when we allow ourselves the time, we need to take that step. Our future selves call to us from the future, extending hope, telling us that it cannot be done without being completely in the moment, removed from our surroundings. When we search within ourselves in the present, in a state of complete serenity, we often find the key to our future which also unlocks the past that held us back all this time.

Practicing mindfulness can significantly reduce stress. Although worries, concerns, and trauma do not magically cast away, with time and repeated practice, mindfulness provides the tools and the ability to regulate emotions with greater effectiveness. According to the APA, ( “Researchers theorize that mindfulness meditation promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination via disengagement from perseverative cognitive activities and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory. These cognitive gains, in turn, contribute to effective emotion-regulation strategies”. Research shows that practicing mindfulness significantly reduces stress. In 2010, Hoffman et al. conducted a meta-analysis of 39 studies that explored the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues. In another study, participants randomly assigned to an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group were compared with controls on self-reported measures of depression, anxiety and psychopathology, and on neural reactivity as measured by fMRI after watching sad films (Farb et al., 2010). The researchers found that the participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress compared with the control group. In addition, the fMRI data indicated that the mindfulness group had less neural reactivity when they were exposed to the films than the control group, and they displayed distinctly different neural responses while watching the films than they did before their mindfulness training. These findings suggest that mindfulness meditation shifts people's ability to use emotion regulation strategies in a way that enables them to experience emotion selectively, and that the emotions they experience may be processed differently in the brain (Farb et al., 2010; Williams, 2010).

Below are additional examples of research that support the effectiveness of mindfulness.

Focus. Another study examined how mindfulness meditation affected participants' ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. The researchers compared a group of experienced mindfulness meditators with a control group that had no meditation experience. They found that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009).

Less emotional reactivity. Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. In a study of people who had anywhere from one month to 29 years of mindfulness meditation practice, researchers found that mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate (Ortner et al., 2007).

More cognitive flexibility. Another line of research suggests that in addition to helping people become less reactive, mindfulness meditation may also give them greater cognitive flexibility. One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Siegel, 2007a). Meditation also activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations (Cahn & Polich, 2006; Davidson et al., 2003). Activation of this region corresponds with faster recovery to baseline after being negatively provoked (Davidson, 2000; Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000).

Relationship satisfaction. Several studies find that a person's ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner. Empirical evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict (Barnes et al., 2007), is positively associated with the ability to express oneself in various social situations (Dekeyser el al., 2008) and predicts relationship satisfaction (Barnes et al., 2007; Wachs & Cordova, 2007).

Other benefits. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain's middle prefrontal lobe area. Evidence also suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning (Davidson et al., 2003; see Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004 for a review of physical health benefits), improvement to well-being (Carmody & Baer, 2008) and reduction in psychological distress (Coffey & Hartman, 2008; Ostafin et al., 2006). In addition, mindfulness meditation practice appears to increase information processing speed (Moore & Malinowski, 2009), as well as decrease task effort and having thoughts that are unrelated to the task at hand (Lutz et al., 2009).

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Based on the abundance of research available, as well as the testimonials of participants, and clients of mindful therapy, we can conclude that mindful therapy is indeed a valuable tool to master and a crucial asset available to you when you need it. Doppler therapy takes mindfulness therapy to a new level where our highly skilled therapists are motivated to help you along your way. Doppler therapy encourages you to consider the benefits of mindful therapy and allow yourself a chance to see how it is right for you. Schedule a time to talk, and best of all, from the comfort of your own home. That’s the Doppler difference.

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