Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elisabeth Vincent Hamelin
Mindfulness is a method that can be used to manage stress and anxiety. The method is that you focus on what is at this very moment, in the present. Mindfulness is sometimes used in healthcare to more easily manage stress, anxiety and depression.
- 1 What is mindfulness?
- 1.1 To practice mindfulness
- 1.2 Mindfulness is sometimes used in health care
- 1.3 Good with mindfulness guidance in strong negative emotions
- 1.4 Mindfulness can sometimes become an escape from reality
- 1.5 Focusing on breathing can be uncomfortable
- 1.6 The brain can learn to pay attention to what you feel good about
- 1.7 Old experiences control how you react and act
- 1.8 When you understand yourself, you can change
- 1.9 Tips for acting more consciously
- 1.10 Meet the pain but don’t get stuck in it
- 1.11 Realize that you are not alone
- 1.12 Practice your self-compassion
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means presence of mind or conscious presence.
This is important when practicing mindfulness:
- You are aware of what is happening right now.
- You have a curious and accepted attitude to what you are experiencing. This means that you do not value or judge what you are experiencing in the present.
- You have an accepting attitude towards yourself and others. This means that you practice looking lovingly and lovingly at yourself and others. If it is difficult, you can practice at least looking neutral on yourself and others. It is very important for you to feel good.
To practice mindfulness
You can increase your ability to mindfulness by meditating and practicing. In the text Mindfulness in everyday life there are examples of exercises.
How can mindfulness affect your health?
Some feel that mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Some also think that mindfulness can be helpful in managing pain and sleep problems. But there is so far no scientific study that clearly proves this. The overall results of today’s mindfulness research show that mindfulness is good. But it is unclear what exactly it is that is good and what effect mindfulness has in detail.
Mindfulness is sometimes used in health care
Mindfulness is sometimes used in health care to increase the ability to handle the following problems:
- sleeping problems
- mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.
More recently, studies have been conducted in several areas where mindfulness may be helpful, such as drug addiction and eating disorders. Several studies also deal with the fact that mindfulness can be helpful in dealing with mental health problems in various cancers.
Are there any negative effects of mindfulness?
Not only does mindfulness mean relaxing, it can also be difficult and difficult. When you stop and are present in the moment, you can face both positive and negative thoughts, among other things unpleasant feelings and memories can become more clear. If you have a mindfulness instructor, it is important that they are knowledgeable in both psychology and mindfulness. It is also important that the instructor has a legitimate education for your particular problems or illness.
Good with mindfulness guidance in strong negative emotions
You may have strong negative feelings through mindfulness, which may cause you not to continue. Then it can be good with guidance on how mindfulness can be used.
You who are in mental imbalance or have previously had a psychosis, may need to talk to a doctor who is knowledgeable in mindfulness before doing certain types of mindfulness exercises. Both lying and sitting meditations can awaken strong emotions.
Mindfulness can sometimes become an escape from reality
Some become too fond of exercising mindfulness and do long meditations to avoid the heavy demands of reality. Then there is a risk that mindfulness becomes an escape from reality rather than an aid in dealing with difficulties.
Focusing on breathing can be uncomfortable
You who have a great need for control may find it difficult to just keep breathing. Some experience it as uncomfortable and begin to control their breathing instead of letting the breath take care of itself. Sometimes it can then be easier to count the breath at each exhale from 1-5 and then start again. As soon as you notice that you start thinking about something else, you start again at 1 and keep doing it during the meditation.
In mindfulness you can learn to deal with negative thoughts
The brain has difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is invented. Therefore, it does not make a difference between what you think and what you experience in reality. This means that if you think about thoughts that cause you to become anxious or stressed, your body reacts as if it were really so. You cannot rule out negative thoughts. Learn how to handle them instead. Thoughts are mental events and images.
It is easier to get a distance from the thoughts if you pay attention to thoughts as just thoughts and not as facts. Then, for example, worrying and negative thoughts may be there without you being controlled as much by them.
The brain can learn to pay attention to what you feel good about
Practice noticing things you feel good about, such as a person’s smile, nice weather, warm water or a friendly behavior from another person. Then you learn your brain to more easily notice similar information in the future. Then it may be easier for you to notice things that bring you joy and satisfaction in life.
Mindfulness can help you understand yourself
Mindfulness can help you understand how you act and why. You observe yourself, your thoughts, feelings, how it feels in your body and how you behave. Then you can learn what patterns and themes exist in your life.
Old experiences control how you react and act
During childhood, self-esteem develops and you learn how to expect to be treated by other people. Based on these experiences, you react automatically according to old patterns. When you react this way automatically, you repeat the old one again and again. In this way, the old experiences control and shape your life more than you are aware of.
When you understand yourself, you can change
When you look at yourself without judging, you observe curiously and with a beginner’s mind. You may notice that you are very much driven by negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Whatever it is for you, it is important not to judge yourself. By becoming more aware, accepting and seeing it as it is, it will also enable you to influence your actions and to initiate change.
Tips for acting more consciously
For the most part, we respond quickly and automatically, in the same way we always have. Even if you are aware of why you feel a certain way in a particular situation, you may not be able to do something different at that particular moment. Therefore, it may be good to have some simple rules of memory for managing yourself in a conscious way:
- Stop. Concentrate on the breathing movements for a little while. It gives you a little break and a distance to your thoughts and feelings.
- Note. Try to get an idea of thoughts, feelings, the body and what is happening.
- Accept. Accept that the situation is as it is. You can’t do it, but you can try to make the best of it.
- Answer differently. Don’t just try to react the same way you did before. Maybe you can do something new and different?
- Move on. You have done what you could in the situation even if it did not turn out as you imagined. Now leave what was and eat and do not worry. Be open for the next moment.
Self-compassion an area of mindfulness. It’s about dealing with life in adversity. You give yourself comfort when life is hard instead of harassing yourself for not meeting your expectations. For example, self-compassion can make it easier to handle self-criticism.
Self-compassion contains three parts:
- You face the pain but you don’t get stuck in it.
- You realize that you are not alone. Everyone sometimes has trouble, feels bad and suffers.
- You are actively comforting and kind to yourself.
Meet the pain but don’t get stuck in it
Whatever hurts we want to avoid, but if you constantly resist the emotional pain you are exposed to, it can be harder to bear. Mental pain needs nursing just like a scab on the knee. When you dare to face your pain, you give yourself the opportunity to deal with it. Relate your pain as a sore adult to an injured child. Patch and comfort, but do not be swallowed by it.
Realize that you are not alone
All people feel pain. Most are also self-critical. Feelings such as anxiety, shame and worthlessness can be easier to bear if you understand that you are not alone about them and that these feelings are an inevitable part of life.
Self-compassion is thus not about glorifying yourself, but more about an understanding that life is tough for everyone, no one goes free.
Practice your self-compassion
You can practice your self-compassion. Mindfulness is the basis of self-compassion and therefore it is good if you have some experience of mindfulness before you start practicing. You need to become aware of your difficulties or your suffering in order to comfort yourself.