email DrSooHoo@sequoiacounselingoc.com phone 949.337.1034 mailing address 340 E. 1st St. #291, Tustin, CA 92781 Sequoia Counseling & Wellness Services OC offers virtual teletherapy services for California Residents
Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Based Skills
Is it hard for you to manage the racing thoughts and worries that enter your mind when in performance situations?
Do you set overly high expectations for yourself or others and experience uncomfortable feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness, and frustration?
Are you sometimes on edge with difficulties settling down after a long day or getting restorative sleep at night?
Mindfulness-based therapies may be for you. Mindfulness based therapies began in the United States in the late 1970s as a way to treat the chronically ill at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), describes mindfulness as "moment to moment non-judgmental awareness." Additionally, mindfulness practice is based upon attitudinal factors of non-judgment, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. Participation in therapy that uses mindfulness techniques is a means to learning new ways of "conscious living" as a lifestyle to improve one's physical and psychological health and well-being (Kabat-Zinn, 2013).
Mindfulness as a Science Based Practice
Extensive research has documented the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression (Goyal, et al 2014). In fact, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, and other institutions worldwide have shown how participation in a mindfulness based stress-reduction program can result in structural and functional brain changes. One example of this is an increase in grey matter in the brain (a part that is responsible for controlling movement, memory, and emotions). While mindfulness is effective for some conditions, it does not cure everything and it isn't intended to replace other medical or psychological interventions. For more on its effectiveness, watch this video:
Mindfulness consists of mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based skills approaches. I use mindfulness techniques for the treatment of:
chronic illness (mindfulness as an addition to other treatments
for conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, back pain, heart disease, and anxiety)
relationship challenges and communication difficulties
This video from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center is a sample of Mindfulness Meditation on breathing:
“My mind can’t focus for that long” And Other Mindfulness Concerns
Dr. Inna Khazan (2019) describes and discusses these various reactions and concerns to the Mindfulness approach:
“I can’t concentrate on one thing for too long” : It is very common for the mind to wander numerous times, especially for people who are new to these exercises. With practice, you will notice the shifts in attention more and it will be easier to stay focused. Other modifications include doing it for shorter intervals or using meditation practices that involve movement. “I can’t empty my mind” : Unlike other therapy treatments, mindfulness encourages you to think and respond to your thoughts in a different way, rather than erasing or blocking them from your mind. Mindfulness meditations involve noticing thoughts and letting them come and go without interacting with them. “I already know how to breathe and relax” : The goal of mindfulness meditation is to train you to be attuned to the present moment (versus dwelling on past hurts or worrying about future events). Relaxation practices and mindful meditations can both be relaxing, but they impact the mind and body differently. “I’m not spiritual/religious” : Mindfulness practices can be done in any number of ways whether they are included as part of religious rituals or not. “It’s something for weak people” : One of the benefits of the mindfulness approach is to help you manage your reactions to difficult and unpleasant feelings. It can be another tool in your belt of "psychological interventions" that you can master to help you with life's challenging moments.
If you would like more information on mindfulness or wish to get started today, I would be happy to help! Feel free to call or write for more information. - Dr. Melissa Soo Hoo
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