What is Mindfulness?

I define mindfulness as a way of being in the present moment with open minded curiosity that leads to a skillful response.

 

I find this “way of being” particularly helpful for me as a therapist, and many people have an interest in developing mindfulness skills as a way to address life’s difficulties. Although I aspire to show up with all clients in a mindful way, mindfulness as an explicit approach to therapy is not expected by every client and is not forced in any way.

 

For those who are interested in mindfulness as a practical approach, I am prepared to support them. Bringing mindfulness into my work with clients happens at the confluence of Buddhist psychology, and cutting edge evidence based approaches like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

 

To put it simply, my approach to mindfulness revolves around three principles described best in the ACT approach.

  • Be present
  • Open up
  • Do what matters

 

It is not unusual to notice that problems arise when our mind drifts away from the present into worry about the future, or self criticism and regret about the past. Similarly when we struggle with aspects of our life that we have no control over we suffer. Without being able to notice our unhelpful patterns and respond differently we find contentment elusive. Developing skillful responses to life’s challenges can lead to change allowing us to do what matters in the service of a rich and meaningful life.