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September 20, 2010

Implications of simple mindfulness practices - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and without judgement.

Mindfulness practices help people develop a deeper and more compassionate connection to experiences.  Mindfulness practices that focus on aspects of the body help root us in our bodies, in the here and now, and cultivate the connection between mind and body.  In this day and age people are very disconnected from their bodies and dwell in various mental states.  Many people have created a clear distinction or boundary between mind and body.  Mindfulness practices can help dissolve that boundary, one that is assumed in the first place (according to Buddhism and other Eastern philosophical approaches).

In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Marsha Linehan teaches about “Radical acceptance,” accepting “what is, as is.”  Mindfulness practices require a process of “turning the mind” from “willfulness” (fighting what is) to “willingness” (accepting what is, as is).

This process has important implications for developing physical and emotional resilience.  Research indicates that mindfulness practices have positive physiological effects on heart, blood pressure, muscles, and more.  Mindfulness practices serve people emotionally, countering anxiety, thoughts, worries and concerns.  Improves people’s ability to self regulate, feel calmer, and increase compassion for self and others.

For more information on mindfulness visit the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and Dan Siegel.

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