In the following paragraphs you will be introduced to the principles of mindfulness-based interventions, which are currently offered for the treatment of stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, parenting stress, etc. All mindfulness-based programs are rooted in the cultivation of the seven right attitudes, which include: withholding judgment, being patient, cultivating curiosity, honouring and trusting yourself, reducing expectations, accepting things as they are, and letting go of preconceived ideas.
Focusing on the breath
The breath is an important part of mindfulness practice as it provides a place where attention can be focused. Becoming aware of the breath also helps in managing difficult emotions, while taking deeper breaths with long exhalations promotes relaxation. You will be taught diaphragm breathing and learn to focus your attention on the rising and falling of your abdomen with each inhalation or exhalation. Focusing on the breath is usually practiced in sitting meditation, which requires sitting quietly with an erect back and closed eyes.
Other mindfulness practices
You will also be taught a variety of alternative formal practices. In the body scan, you will learn to notice and become familiar with your body’s sensations as you scan through each body parts. Yoga anchors focus in the body and will encourage you to honor your physical abilities. Mindful walking promotes attention on the process of walking.
These practices are designed to help focus your attention for longer periods of time so you can develop sustained concentration. Throughout these practices, you will be encouraged to notice your mind wandering, to withhold judgment and elaboration about the present experience, and to accept any limitation. Informal training requires that you select any daily activity that you can maintain your focus on.
Each practice will be followed by an in-depth discussion, where you will have the opportunity to talk about your experiences and how mindfulness can be incorporated into your daily life. Participation in the discussion is voluntary. Homework incorporates both formal and informal practices of mindfulness, and is designed to reinforce and deepen the learning experience.