Mindfulness training can teach us to focus – on the present moment with openness, flexibility and curiosity, and without judgement – and on the self.
Mindfulness is also growing in popularity as a therapy technique. It has been shown to have numerous physical and psychological benefits, and is being introduced into schools currently so that the next generation may reap the benefits fully.
Turning Mindfulness Inwards
Mindfulness in treatment is generally focused on the world around us, getting in touch with the environment, what we see, hear and feel. This technique is very helpful to reduce anxiety, calm the body and thoughts and distract from pain and worries.
A less talked about form of mindfulness however, is turning it inwards to gain a better understanding of the self. How well do you know how you feel? Can you describe the physical sensation of emotions such as sadness, anger and love? Do you notice all the physical symptoms of anxiety in your body such as tightness in the chest and back, or weakness and numbing?
To really get in touch with your body and the emotional self, turning mindfulness inwards can be a helpful skill. When being mindful of the self we are banishing experiential avoidance – avoidance of internal experiences such as thoughts, feelings and sensations. Experiential avoidance has been linked with many mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression.
The Body Scan
One way to practice inwards mindfulness is to do a task called the body scan. This is a 10-20 minute exercise focused entirely internally, on sensations within the body, working from the toes up to the head. If you wish to complete this exercise you can make an appointment with a professional with experience in mindfulness training to lead you through it, or there are some guided mindful meditations available online and through apps.
Another practice is mindfulness of emotions and exploring your emotions via Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). ISTDP is focused on the emotional experience and understanding the self, and the unconscious defences we have developed to detach from emotions and reduce anxiety from unresolved emotional experiences.
If you would like to know more about mindfulness training or the emotional experience, please consider booking an appointment to see me. We can introduce you to exercises, to help you get in touch with your inner self, or work towards understanding and resolving internal emotional conflict through ISTPD.
Rose Gillett is a clinical psychologist, working with children, adolescents, adults and couples. She is passionate about helping her clients achieve their goals, and has particular interest areas in attachment concerns in adults and young people, PTSD, and alcohol and drug addiction
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist, Rose Gillett, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.