Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an effective treatment method formulated by John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Mark Williams for the patients suffering from repeated and extreme depressive states.
The system is designed by combining the methods of cognitive therapy with mindfulness practices to establish a deeper sense of relief from various mental noises experienced by the patients of chronic depression.
Mindfulness exercises used in this therapy is derived from the teachings of Buddhist meditation practices that help a person to become more aware of his thoughts, sensations, feelings, emotions etc.
MBCT is an improvised form of the famous mindfulness based stress reduction program that was created by John Kabat.
One half of this whole system is the very old treatment for various mind related problems, i.e cognitive therapy, which was introduced by a well known American psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck.
Beck explained that our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all related; hence he focused on making his patients to work on these three aspects of their mental health.
A person is taught to first identify his various mind states and then actively change it to produce desired outcomes.
For example, an individual is taught to become aware when he gets involved in negative thinking, distressing emotional responses, destructive behavior etc. and then he takes a step forward to alter all these unconscious patterns using his conscious efforts.
While cognitive therapy educates you about the various involuntary mind and body behavioral patterns so that you could identify and change it deliberately, mindfulness methods provide a better solution for dissolving such harmful thoughts, emotions, behaviors and feelings.
Trying to alter your mind states using your will power can probably backfire sometimes, which makes the whole situation even worse, however mindfulness meditation takes an approach which is very easy and effective in helping you to improve your unconscious destructive mind states.
Some simple mindfulness exercises enable you to become an observer of your thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions and feelings whenever you get into a negative mind state, doing this will detach you from that particular state and this is a natural way to escape some very troublesome emotional issues like depression.
MBCT is an 8 week program that takes you through different levels from understanding the process to performing it appropriately.
The majority of the task in this course is done by participants during their usual hours by applying the lessons they learn in the class which includes various mindfulness activities and meditations, whereas the classes are held for few hours only on a few targeted weekly days.
The course also involves some Yoga and breathing exercises that helps one to develop an increased present moment awareness.
MBCT has been significantly successful in treating the patients of depression and many studies have supported the health benefits and effectiveness of this course.
I am not a therapist to give you a professional advice on this, but from my experience I have learned that mindfulness exercises are best for dealing with depression and other mind related problems.
I hope you enjoyed this post. You may also be interested in knowing a few methods to become a more happy person.
What do you do to get rid of the negative thoughts and feelings? I would love to hear your opinion on this, so please do leave a comment before you leave. (Your email id will be safe and hidden, you can even prefer your secondary email id for commenting)
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I don’t think any other practice comes close to the effectiveness and simplicity of mindfulness when it is about achieving the serenity of mind that’s why I keep talking about it in my posts.
That was not a speculative statement, mindfulness has helped me to become an emotionally healthy person by pulling me out of depression so, I really want you to understand that it is far better than any other technique especially because it’s easy and you can use it anytime, anywhere.
Mindfulness meditation is all about present moment awareness, using some simple methods you bring your attention to the NOW moment.
That may sound something simple, but it is very difficult to make your monkey mind focus on the present, the more aware you will become of your mind activities, the better your emotional state will get.
Initially, people make a huge mistake of believing that one has to control his thoughts in order to stay present.
In fact, one of the major reasons why people fail to make proper use of these techniques is because they try to control their thoughts; there is a very thin line between observing the mind activities and trying to control it.
However, the effects are totally different. Becoming aware of your inner world and observing your mind is an act of patience that is honed by practice, as a result, your mind will become your friend.
But, if you will try to control your mind by fighting with your thoughts it can lead to devastating consequences.
I am alerting you because you must know the exact purpose of these techniques before you begin to put them into use.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a program created by Dr. John Kabat-Zinn for relieving people from stress and mind related problems using natural methods.
This program which is a combination of breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and yoga has proved out to be extremely helpful to the people troubled by emotional pain.
Many institutions are now conducting MBSR training, however here I will be providing a few exercises based on mindfulness, which you will be able to practice on your own.
Obviously, I am talking about the mental anguish here. Your distress is sustained by your avoidance.
Mindfulness teaches you to confront the emotions that are making noises in your head; this is how you will be able to get rid of them.
For this you will have to make use of the time when the negative feelings and thoughts starts to overwhelm you. Take a few deep breaths and observe all these inner activities without getting involved in it.
Detach yourself like if you are watching a movie; just allow the mind to do what it wants.
Your intense alertness will naturally calm down your mind and with time, such thoughts will stop annoying you.
Your breathing patterns is related to your mind states and by reversing this process, you can achieve the desired emotional state, this is why mindfulness practices include breathing exercises.
Conscious breaths are one of the simplest tools to bring your attention to the present moment.
Take small breaks during your whole day to breathe consciously and relax your mind. Just notice your breath flowing from your nostrils to the lungs and vice versa. Repeat this a few times till you feel refreshed. You can use this as a trick to refresh your mind whenever you feel stressed.
One of the best forms of mindfulness breathing is insight meditation which is also known as vipassana meditation.
Mindfulness meditation mainly uses one’s sense perceptions as an instrument to make him/her more present.
We are often looking at things without actually “seeing” them; this is why people bump into things despite of their eyes being wide open.
Hence, you can bring your mind into the NOW moment by actively observing the stuff at which you are looking. Observe the object meticulously and take note of its various visual properties.
An advanced version of this exercise is Tratak Meditation where a person fixes his gaze on an object and uses it as a tool to enhance his alertness.
Sometimes subtle and sometimes discernible, every time you have a thought, your body responds by producing certain sensations.
By becoming more aware you can take notice of how your body is communicating to you, this is an art of listening to your body and that’s a doorway to your intuitive power.
For doing this just become aware of the sensations you could feel at any moment, contemplate over it for a few moments and learn how various thoughts in your mind has some kind of effect in your body
At times when you are too stressed these sensations are very strong, you can observe the reactions in your body during those times much effortlessly, doing this will automatically withdraw your attention from the distressing thoughts and bring it to the NOW moment.
Talking about observing the sensations in the body brings me to this awesome exercise known as the Yogic Sleep or Yog Nidra.
Here a person slowly takes his attention from his head to toe, in doing so he feels and consciously removes any type of tension in the area where he is focusing. This is a very good method to release stress.
You can read more on this topic here: – Practicing Yogic Sleep
What if I told you that your thoughts are not yours? What if I told you that your worries are not yours? What if I told you that your pain is not yours?
That sounds crazy, but that will make you a happy person isn’t it?
Our thoughts really are not always ours, sometimes they are generated as a result of direct or indirect information received by your mind from the surroundings.
However, my point of discussion here is that by looking at our inner happenings from a different perspective allows us to diminish the effects of negative thoughts.
For doing this, relax your mind with the help of breathing exercises and then imagine you looking at yourself from outside as if you are looking at someone else.
You are also able to see what’s happening in your mind, look at all your pains, problems, worries as if they are not yours.
Observing your inner world this way will help you to detach yourself from your thoughts, you will also realize that some of your problems seem trivial when viewed from this different angle.
Food gives you a very good opportunity to focus on the present moment. Usually we eat absentmindedly; we put ourselves on autopilot to eat while our mind wanders.
Many eating disorders like binge eating are born out of people’s lack of attentiveness when they eat.
Mindful eating is about being totally present in the moment when you are having food, this also helps you to enjoy your food much more than before.
By paying more attention to the appearance, smell and taste of the food you will be able to give your busy mind a much needed break from the disturbing or unwanted thoughts.
You can read more one this here: –Building a Good Relationship with Food-Mindfulness Eating Script
Our mind wants us to listen to it always and ignores all other voices. Especially, when a person is stressed, all of his attention is taken up by the negative self talks and unwanted thought patterns.
You may have found yourself in situations when you realize that you didn’t hear a word the other person was saying since you were mentally somewhere else.
Double is the benefit of becoming an active listener, one is that you will be able to bring your attention to the present moment and the other is that you will prove out to be a great friend as people love good listeners.
Just take small breaks every now and then to hear the sounds in your environment, carefully take notice of the near and distant sounds for some time.
When people speak to you, listen to them as if they are about to reveal some big secrets of the universe. While doing this, avoid judging or comparing their words and also don’t form responses before they finish talking.
Sometimes people don’t need your response they just want you to hear what they are saying so, be kind enough to give them your company by being a mindful listener.
Exercises and body movements have a deep connection with your mind state, so Yoga is one very wise choice for reducing stress in your life.
Unlike the usual workouts that are meant for body fitness, Yoga is something that improves both your physical and mental health.
When you do Yoga, you have to observe your breath and body sensations, that’s why it is helpful in making you more mentally alert than before.
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In order to live a joyful life one has to be aware of his own thoughts and emotions.In today’s world we live quite a computer like life.
We are programmed to follow a particular routine on week days and on weekends we are doing stuff that we think is something that makes us happy.
If you are like most people in this world who have put their life on automation, just take a look on the past three months of your life-you will find that apart from few exceptional days it has been all the same.
I am not saying that one should leave his job or duties and go on to do sky diving every day, but what I am talking is related more to the awareness you have about yourself.
It is so important to focus on the things that you want in your life and make changes in your everyday schedule accordingly.
To be more conscious of your own thinking does not need you to leave all your daily works and sit down writing your thoughts on a notepad (you will go insane if you do that), all it needs is to keep a watch on your emotions.
The difference between people who live consciously and those who are living their life unconsciously is that the first ones recognize their negative feelings and do something about it whereas the latter ones are driven by their mind. Continue reading
You can bring your mind into the present moment by using your 5 senses and here we will discuss some very simple anytime and anywhere mindfulness exercises.
In his book “The Power of Now“, Eckhart Tolle has conveyed the message that the key to enlightenment is to live in the present moment, and mindfulness exercises will help you to achieve that in this busy world.
If you are into new age materials, I am telling you the key to the manifestation of your desires is the present moment awareness because this teaches you how to detach yourself from the need of having it and thus, you allow your abundance naturally by reaching the state of flow. Continue reading