Mindfulness, Meditation and Additional Mind – Body Approaches
Mindfulness and meditation are techniques which go back centuries in a wide variety of traditions. These practices, once learned, can be particularly helpful with self-awareness and the building of compassion and empathy.
Emotions are recognized through sensation in the body. For example, I know I’m anxious because I have butterflies in my stomach and my hands are sweaty. I know I’m excited because I feel a pleasant rushing sensation in my chest that makes be breathe faster. Learning to pay attention to these sensations and to identify the correlating emotions can help you build greater mastery over your emotional life.
Many of us live more in the past or the future than in the present moment. Deep breathing techniques and breath focused meditation can help the client stay in the here and now – the one place where decisions can be made to create life changes – just in the present moment of one breath with no thought of what has past or what is to come.
Grounding exercises, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) can significantly increase a client’s self-soothing tool bag. CBT includes sensory focused experiences such as consciously feeling the ground under your feet or the chair providing support. DBT creates opportunities to practice positive internal dialogue. If you’ve ever yelled at yourself or called yourself names inside your own head, DBT could offer skills to support self-value and self-respect.
Investigation of your spiritual beliefs or philosophy of life and respectful incorporation of these into the therapeutic process can be a powerful resource for some people. There is room for your spiritual life in counseling, just as much as any other part of you.
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