What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness of your experience from moment to moment. 

While mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years in different traditions such as Buddhist or yogic meditation, it has become increasingly utilized in psychotherapy over the past few decades. Even though mindfulness is a simple concept, it can be a difficult practice to master. From moment to moment starting right now, see if you can stay aware of your experience without any judgements and with total acceptance. Because being mindful involves staying non-reactive and having more self-control, it is an important therapeutic skill. Instead of reacting out of habit, mindful awareness supports you in making more intentional and well-balanced choices in thought and action. In addition, mindfulness can provide a healthy distance from difficult emotions, memories, or external events.  Although we are bound to have difficult and painful feelings in life, what really causes suffering is the resistance to these feelings instead of accepting them and letting them pass. Mindfulness develops this ability to accept whatever happens without trying to push it away or cling to it.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
— Buddhist proverb

As you practice mindfulness, you simply notice and observe body sensations, breath, thoughts, feelings, images, sounds, smells, tastes, and energy. Your unconscious thought patterns can become more conscious, giving you opportunities to make changes that will serve you best. Opening the window to the psyche in a direct and gentle way, mindfulness invites healing, growth, and lasting positive change. Exploring and processing difficult experiences become less frightening or overwhelming. Scientific research on mindfulness has shown that not only does it relax the nervous system, but can be helpful in addressing a variety of emotional and behavioral conditions. When practicing mindfulness, you may be more open to considering alternative attitudes and ways of being that will help you reach your goals.

Stephen frequently incorporates mindfulness in his therapy sessions and integrates it with traditional psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Stephen teaches his clients how to use mindfulness to reduce anxiety, manage mood, and feel more present with others. Insights come quicker, people accept themselves more, and lasting progress is made. Strengthening your mindfulness muscles helps you be the master of your own mind and become your own therapist.

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