Mindfulness aims to help people reduce stress, difficult thoughts and feelings through meditation-based practices. It involves intentionally switching off automatic pilot in order to be present, aware and responsive to our experiences. It has been recommended by NICE for people who have experience of recurrent depression, but has also been used for a range of other difficulties including pain, anxiety and stress. It is also an integral part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion focussed Therapy (CFT).
Mindfulness therapy has roots in ancient buddhist practices, and modern science showing its effectiveness in improving mood and reducing stress.
Mindfulness training helps us live in the present and break free of subconscious patterns of thinking and behavior. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a form of therapy that takes features from both mindfulness techniques and cognitive therapy. It is especially suitable for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and relapse prevention.
The aim of MBCT is to let negative moods, sensations and thoughts drift into our minds without having to battle against them, by staying in touch with the present moment. MBCT teaches clients to concentrate on each moment without judgement, and recognise that holding on to negative feelings is unhelpful.