Mindfulness-based therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) are increasingly being used to treat various mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders. What’s the secret behind these treatments? Mindfulness, which means paying attention to our thoughts and emotions in the present moment without judgment or bias. In this article, we’ll take a look at what mindfulness is and why it can help treat mental illness.
DBT – A New Mental Health Approach
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a mental health therapy that helps you manage overwhelming emotional distress and problems with everyday life. DBT has been recognized as one of the most effective treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which was previously considered to be one of most difficult diagnoses to treat effectively. DBT combines cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, Zen meditation and mindfulness practices, psycho-education about psychiatric symptoms and illness management. The approach is designed to help people improve their ability to handle distressing emotions, tolerate distress before it leads to self-harmful behaviour and learn ways to avoid or deal with high risk situations without resorting to self-harming behaviours.
What is Mindfulness?
The definition is debatable but one way to think about it is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are. It’s an important practice because it can help us learn how to respond better to situations in our lives instead of reacting out of habit or impulse. The benefits? A decrease in anxiety, more clarity and direction. In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli; by practicing mindfulness we can learn how to be fully present in any given situation and see what exactly we need to focus on. Another important aspect? Creating time for ourselves. How often do you allow yourself time each day just for you?
Why Is Mindfulness Good For You?
Too often, we get caught up in our day-to-day activities that we forget about what’s really important. However, if you use mindfulness to focus on your body and breathe deeply, you can notice when you’re feeling bad and make a change. If you need a little extra help with meditation or breathing exercises, there are plenty of apps out there that can help. Before long, mindfulness will become part of your daily routine—helping you live life more fully instead of letting it pass by.
Ways to Increase Your Awareness
Try these methods to increase your awareness and learn how to cultivate mindfulness:
Track Your Breathing: You can practice basic mindfulness by focusing on your breathing. When you become aware of what you’re doing, try counting to three as you inhale, then exhale for a count of four. Continue until you lose track, then start over. If your mind wanders (and it will), don’t judge yourself—just return to thinking about your breathing.
Read A Book : Choose a nonfiction book and spend at least ten minutes reading one page every day. This isn’t about speed-reading but rather about paying attention in a way that helps calm busy minds.
Don’t multi-task: Set aside time each day to concentrate fully on whatever task you’re working on. Leave emails unanswered, put down your phone and turn off any other distractions (like television or music).
Remember that Feeling vs Reaction: Practice evaluating thoughts without judgement; just notice them when they enter your mind.