The mental skill set that comes from the practice of meditation is known as mindfulness. Mindfulness can be thought of as the ability to keep our attention focused on the present moment in a relaxed and non-judgmental fashion. Although meditation may be the best way to become more mindful, there are other ways. Any time we are able to bring our attention back to the present moment after being lost in thought, we are being mindful. Mindfulness meditation helps us practice noticing when we have become lost in thought. This “coming back” is a helpful skill that plays a key role in mindfulness practice. We can also become more mindful by limiting the time we spend multitasking at work, at home, or on the go.
Clinical research demonstrates mindfulness to be a promising approach for people struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, hypertension, and other medical disorders. It is also an important component behind several kinds of psychotherapy including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and mindfuless-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). It is also the basis for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR is a program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. MBSR is based on the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. Over the past several hundred years, mindfulness meditation was practiced in the Buddhist traditions of Southeast Asia.
Stress and anxiety conditions can be worsened by difficulties with concentration and relaxation. We can reduce anxiety by practicing our inherent ability to be mindfully present, focused, and relaxed. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) also offers many effective techniques to reduce anxiety. At the Manhattan Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy some of our therapists specialize in combining MBSR and CBT. Dr. Visvanathan and Dr. Greene specialize in this work. For those who are seeking the traditional class-like group format of MBSR, We recommend the NYC Mindfulness Collaborative.