“Change happens through discovering how [one] habitually organizes experience in response to selected stimuli and then changing how the experience is organized.” - Pat Ogden, 2005

Mindfulness is a very effective technique that can be used in therapy sessions for treatment of past trauma or anxiety or by anyone on their own at any time.

Mindfulness involves:

  1. Noticing – this is an awareness of sensation, thought, emotion, movement, and external stimuli
  2. Detachment – noticing without “participating” in it or getting swept away by thought, feelings, or the body
  3. Labeling - putting neutral language to what is noticed and being simply curious, without judging or justifying

Mindfulness can be directionless or directed; we can follow the flow of thoughts, feelings, and body responses as they unfold or we can deliberately choose to direct our concentration away or toward something, such as a body sensation or breath.

Neurobiological Effects of Mindfulness (Janina Fisher, 2013):

  1. Mindful concentration has been correlated with regulating arousal and widening the window of tolerance for feelings.
  2. Mindful noticing inhibits impulsive behavior.
  3. Mindfulness discourages negative self-talk and cognitive distortions that contribute to symptoms of anxiety.
  4. Mindful concentration on new patterns of action or reaction is associated with neuroplastic brain change. (Seigel)
This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. …Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
- Rumi; taken from van der Kolk (2014)

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