There are many benefits to mindful meditation. Mindful meditation can be used within Dialectetical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a modality that counselors use to equip clients with the tools necessary to achieve their goals. The four pillars of DBT include Distress Tolerance Skills, Emotional Regulation Skills, Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills, and Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as or our ability to stay in the present. Mindfulness takes place when we are observing life as it is happening, and accepting current situations without judgement or struggles. A part of mindfulness is our ability to notice and allow our thoughts and feelings to exist without letting them drive our actions.
What is the difference between Mindfulness and Mindlessness?
If mindfulness is our ability to stay in the present moment without judgement or struggles, mindlessness must mean the opposite.
Mindlessness are the moments in our lives when we are on “autopilot.” When we are mindless, we are simply “going through the motions.” The signs of mindlessness include rigid perspectives, being judgmental of self and others, and engaging in reactive and impulsive behaviors.
The best way to describe the difference between mindlessness and mindfulness is with a concrete example. Consider the act of eating. When an individual is mindlessly eating, he may engage in emotional eating. Mindless eating also includes grazing, eating on schedule, skipping meals altogether, or ignoring hunger cues.
When an individual is mindfully eating, he will sit down, eat slowly. An individually mindfully eating will savour each bite, focus on the meal, and is not multi-tasking.
Individuals who practice mindfulness report relieved stress, reduced anxiety and depression, improved mood, improved relationship satisfaction, and improved self-esteem/self-worth.
Mindfulness through Meditation
One way that we can exercise the muscle of mindfulness is through meditation. In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through the mind, without judgement or an attempt to change them.
In spiritual meditation, you focus on developing a deeper connection with God. Examples of spiritual meditation include praying or meditating on Scripture.
Focused meditation involves concentrating on using any of the five senses. Examples of focused meditation include staring at a candle flame while smelling the aroma of the candle, moon gazing, listening to ocean waves, and counting breaths.
Movement meditation is an active form of meditation that guides you to a deeper connection with your body and present moment. Movements include walking, gardening, yoga, or other gentle forms of movement.
In visualization meditation, you visualize positive scenes, images, or figures, in order to promote feelings of peace, tranquility, and relaxation. Some individuals may use guided meditations on Spotify and YouTube to help them visualize beautiful landscapes. Some Christians use visualization meditation when they visualize the face of their loving Savior, His eyes filled with love and gentleness, as He smiles warmly at them.
If you would like more information on the different types of meditation, you can go to the following link: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/types-of-meditation#spiritual-meditation.
Mindfulness, even when it’s tough!
Whichever meditation you chose to help broaden your ability to be present, it may be difficult at first. You may be five minutes into a YouTube guided visualization meditation, and be tempted to quit or feel sleepy. A thought may pop up, reminding you of the dinner that needs to be made, or the bill that needs to be paid. Mindlessness may come knocking on your door. The important thing to do is to observe these thoughts and judgements, and let them be. Let them go. Continue to bring your attention to the present moment. The five minutes that may be difficult today, will be your warm-up in future meditation sessions.
If you are having a difficult time with breaking out of “autopilot,” and would like some help, please feel free to contact Burke Community Church Counseling Center at the following link: https://www.burkecommunity.com/careandcounseling/