06-11-2017 08:28 AM
Good morning fellow forumites.
Over in Lived Experience town on the other side of Forum Land, some of us are working through the dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills training manual: Let's do DBT
This week we are going to embark on the module of mindfulness and I am super interested in hearing what people think about mindfulness. To me, mindfulness is currently the "in thing" in mental health such that you can barely get through a single session with a psychologist without them bringing it up. This leads me to wonder whether mindfulness is always well-explained to people or whether it just gets tossed around as a buzz word.
So, here are two questions for you:
What does the term "mindfulness" mean to you?
Have you had any positive or negative experiences with mindfulness?
I am super interested to hear people's thoughts about this, and if anyone wants to join us on our DBT adventure (or just sneak over and have a peak), you are extremely welcome.
06-11-2017 04:35 PM
You are so right about Mindfulness seemingly being the 'in thing' at present for all facets of mental health as well as for the general wellbeing of the wider population. Buzz word ... yes I think so! But when it comes to understanding how its done and how to utilise it in our everyday lives to benefit us, I believe it is vastly misrepresented. It is not something that comes easily or naturally, and I believe that mindfulness needs to be taught by someone experienced and skillful in the practice to be of most benefit.
To me, mindfulness is another form of meditation essentially. It is the process of focussing on the present moment. Practicing mindfulness is supposed to help people to become more resilient, aware, positive and happier.
My experience with mindfulness? I have done a fairly extensive on-line CBT with mindfulness course through a well respected national mental health organisation. This was about 2 years ago after my psych had suggested I might be interested in applying for the free trial. It was a 6 week course. Unfortunately I still cant get the hang of it! It takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. I wish I could say that I am getting better at it, but to be honest, I'm not. I seem to be able to do what I need to do when I am in a reasonable frame of mind, but when I most need it, when I am panicking or in distress, it goes right out the window, forgotten. I just cant seem able to clear my mind of all the 'junk', and I cant concentrate. I lose track.
Well done @Phoenix_Rising for bringing up this important topic. I have already been tagged into your DBT thread and am reading with interest, but would appreciate you tagging me when you add new posts.
07-11-2017 07:21 AM
Thank you for your reply. I totally agree with what you've said about mindfulness being a buzz word and that it is often not explained well. I think this is because most mental health professionals only have a rudimentary understanding of it and thus can only pass on a rudimentary understanding to clients. Marsha Linehan, the developer of DBT is a Zen master and she definitely has a strong handle on the concept of mindfulness. But then when other mental health professionals only do a three day course on DBT and then think they know it all, naturally the information doesn't get passed on well.
I was interested in what you said about mindfulness being a form of meditation because I was reading about this very thing in the DBT manual over the weekend. According to Linehan, meditation necessarily involves mindfulness, but mindfulness does not necessarily involve meditation. I have written a bit about that in the (absurdly long!!!!) post that I'm in the process of drafting for the DBT thread.
I definitely don't think you are alone in struggling to get the hang of mindfulness Sherry! Like you, I am great at it when things are going ok...not so much when I'm in crisis! My understanding is that it is something we have to super keep practicing.
I will make sure I tag you into posts on the DBT thread. I'm hoping to post the first about mindfulness tomorrow - assuming my brain co-operates with me today so that I can keep writing it. Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if I was already brilliant at doing mindfulness.
09-11-2017 03:04 PM
14-11-2017 05:40 PM
I might chime in here, since the plea for continued discussion by @Phoenix_Rising is out there!
Personally, I love 'mindfulness', and practicing it, and it helps when I'm going through a tough time. Kind of on par with meditation. I experience a busy thought-process and need to keep them quiet sometimes and it helps to focus on something outside the mind.
But I know the term makes some people roll their eyes now, perhaps some people hear it over and over again for a while. Which is a shame because I feel only good things towards it, really!