The 7 attitudes of mindfulness

Mindfulness is a third generation therapy that emphasizes the process of pay full attention to present experiences, As you live, focus on what is happening in the present and in a positive way with vital connections.

There is a specific program called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). This is a program developed in the United States, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in a medical center at the University of Massachusetts.

In its usual format, it is structured as a course which is taught in groups (small groups), approximately 30 hours. Studies have observed significant reductions of 35% in medical symptoms associated with stress and 40% in psychological distress (Martín, 2014).

here we will see what are the keys and attitudes of mindfulness and how it is used in therapy.

    The stress mechanism

    Stress is an evolutionary development that has thousands of years of history. In fact, it is a survival mechanism without which human beings could not have survived in an inhospitable world. This phenomenon is based on a complex physiological mechanism in which its main protagonists are fear and anger. This makes it possible to apply evasion or combat skills as the case may be in the face of stimuli and signs of danger, through what is called the spirit of survival.

    On the other hand, stress has three phases. The first is stimulation, which is the reaction the body has to deal with the problem; the second is resistance to the threat, and finally and as a result of all the efforts generated, exhaustion. With that comes wear which is the real meaning of the word stress. From this wear and tear derive a series of diseases associated with anxiety, as well as environmental and / or genetic causes.

    As we have seen, the whole stress mechanism was very useful in typical Paleolithic habitats. However, this defensive mechanism has been maintained over time in the face of current events which may remain threatening (As an individual fleeing when a river overflows), or in the face of stimuli that the individual himself interprets as threatening, but perhaps less objectively (finishing a job at a certain point, as there may be a perception of “ noise ”).

    In these situations, stress may cease to be functional when subjected to constant activation, as the mind can lead us to imagine or anticipate unpleasant “limitless” situations, leading us to classic dysfunctional or pathological stress.

    When this body-mind reaction becomes chronic, repeating itself over and over, facilitates the onset of mental health problems.

    Stress related issues

    As mentioned above, stress is triggered by two basic emotions, anger and fear. If the cause that generates them is not resolved, sadness occurs, and if it lasts longer, this phenomenon can give way to depression.

    Chronic anger will lead us to aggression and violence, while chronic fear leads to anxiety, phobia or panic attacks.

    Thus, in today’s world, far from being taken by predators as in the Paleolithic, we can get caught up in our own thoughts. Our thoughts are always occupied with a past that cannot be changed and projecting the desire for an unpredictable future.

    This is why breathing, self-awareness, connection with us, with the present moment, in the here and now, is where we can put our energies through Mindfulness or Mindfulness. It is therefore about feeling the present, listening to the moment, closing your eyes and becoming aware of what you are going through every moment, without being obsessed with what will happen.

    Mindfulness attitudes

    From compassion towards oneself and towards others (compassion seen as the compression of pain or discomfort, and not of the “poor, who is bad”), full consciousness takes on 7 attitudes.

    1. Don’t judge

    Avoid emotional attacks which invalidates the person who receives it.

    2. Patience

    Have respect and compassion for our spirit, and come back to the present when we see that we are moving away from it. It’s about accepting yourself as you are. Don’t pretend to be otherwise.

    3. Beginner spirit

    Observe our experience with curiosity, As if we were experiencing it for the first time. It will be the facilitator who will encourage motivation and attention.

    4. Confidence

    Trust us and don’t judge us. Free yourself from the tendency to judge us harshly.

    5. Do not force

    Meditate not for (soothe pain) but for (feel pain). If we have a well structured session, we will be able to create the right and necessary energy for each exercise.

    6. Acceptance

    When we don’t accept each other, we lose opportunities to take the most appropriate action, And we waste energy and time, which affects our physical and mental health. Don’t force situations. Admit the present.

    7. Let go

    Don’t get hung up on ideas, feelings, and results.

    Relationship with cognitive behavioral therapy

    Cognitive behavioral therapy argues that our thoughts are our own, and they are the ones that support our actions. Mindfulness, because it helps people view every thought as a hypothesis to challenge and generate new, optimal, functional or objective thoughts. Therefore, the two tools complement each other well.

    Benefits of mindfulness

    Mindfulness generates changes associated with various benefits, Both physically and emotionally. These are, among others, the following.

    • Recharge the energies and reduce the suffering.
    • Enjoy quality sleep.
    • Relax better.
    • Take time for yourself.
    • Reduce distractions.
    • Accept reality as it is.
    • Connect with yourself and develop better relationships with others.
    • Encourage general physical well-being.
    • Identify and recognize emotions and thoughts and minimize the anxiety they produce.
    • Reduce stress to reach a calm stage.

    Session structure and clinical applications

    The sessions are led by psychologists, therapists or professionals trained in mindfulness. The structures of the sessions are different, but they pursue the same objectives: Bring calm to the person who practices it and so that they can generalize it in their daily life. These are programs structured in different sessions, according to needs, or individualized in psychological therapy, or in school class. It is essential that instructors know how to guide and understand the context and the people who attend the sessions.

    On the other hand, the applications for which Minfulness is intended are:

    • Stress
    • Panic disorder
    • Mood disorder
    • Anxiety disorders

    • somatizations
    • Eating disorders
    • psychotic disorder
    • addictions

    Meditation should not be viewed as psychological treatment or psychotherapy per se (Vallejo, 2007), although it can be part of and help improve its effectiveness, with daily practice.

    Authors: Sandra Giménez and Santiago Luque, psychologists at BarnaPsico

    Bibliographical references:

    • Onion, A, Camps, D (2016): Teaching Mindfulness. Context of instruction and pedagogy. Journal of Psychotherapy. Vol, 27. pages 103-108.
    • Thich Nhat Hanh (2016): Silence. The power of stillness in a noisy world. Uranus.
    • Unger A. (2016): Calm. 50 Mindfulness and Relaxation Exercises. To reduce stress. 5 inks.
    • Martin, A (2008): Alone: ​​Enjoy the Stress Free Life.

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