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08.05.2014
Mindfulness; awareness of present experience and being aware of your thinking can change your life. Awareness of thoughts and environment helps anchor you in the present moment which in turn also helps you consider the bigger picture – things going on outside of your own thinking and experiences. A great experiment is to observe an object whilst focusing your attention entirely on your breathing. You might also call it noting or noticing, for example, to notice when you pick up a cup that you can feel the cup, noticing the liquid as you drink and recognising the temporary nature (transience) of all of it. A further useful exercise is to sit in your garden or in nature or go for a walk in the country and focus entirely on your surroundings. I hope you enjoy viewing my Mind Maps – there are hundreds more planned here at the Mind Map Inspiration Blog plus ongoing creativity and drawing tips. Also available: E-Books designed to help you create stylish and artistic mind maps of your own. If you know someone who could benefit from this post and others here at the Mind Map Inspiration Blog please share with them. Paul, may I use your mindfulness mind map image in a powerpoint presentation for mindfulness? The best part of the Monthly Experiments Project has been seeing so many of you doing your own personal experiments. Kristin Runvik from Positively Unconventional contacted me about doing an experiment for this site.
If you have a blog, and you want to join us for this experiment, we’re going to do something special. Kristen Runvik, from Positively Unconventional, is all about the pursuit of meaningful adventures and believes all of life is an experiment, so we should have fun. Upon successful completion of the test (a score of 75 percent or higher), you can print your CE certificate immediately. Identify at least four benefits of the effect of mindfulness meditation on therapists and therapist trainees. Understand the relationship between therapists' mindfulness and psychotherapy outcome based on the research to date.
Mindfulness has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity in the past decade, both in the popular press and in the psychotherapy literature. Advocates of mindfulness would have us believe that virtually every client and therapist would benefit from being more mindful. The term "mindfulness" has been used to refer to a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, a mode of processing information and a character trait. Researchers theorize that mindfulness meditation promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination via disengagement from perseverative cognitive activities and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory. Those findings are consistent with evidence that mindfulness meditation increases positive affect and decreases anxiety and negative affect.
While many studies have been conducted on the benefits of applying mindfulness approaches to psychotherapy clients (for reviews, see Didonna, 2009 and Baer, 2006), research on the effects of mindfulness on psychotherapists is just beginning to emerge. Similarly, in a study of Chinese college students, those students who were randomly assigned to participate in a mindfulness meditation intervention had lower depression and anxiety, as well as less fatigue, anger and stress-related cortisol compared to a control group (Tang et al., 2007).
While research points to the conclusion that mindfulness meditation offers numerous benefits to therapists and trainees, do these benefits translate to psychotherapy treatment outcomes? Overall, while the psychological and physical health benefits of mindfulness meditation are strongly supported by research, the ways in which therapists' mindfulness meditation practice and therapists' mindfulness translate to measureable outcomes in psychotherapy remain unclear. Future research holds tremendous potential for learning more about the neurophysiological processes of meditation and the benefits of long-term practice on the brain. In addition, psychologists and others need to explore other ways to increase mindfulness in addition to meditation.
Research is also needed on effective and practical means of teaching therapists mindfulness practices. Given the limited research thus far on empathy, compassion, decreased stress and reactivity, more research is needed on how mindfulness meditation practice affects these constructs and measurable counseling skills in both trainees and therapists. Shapiro and Carlson (2009) have suggested that mindfulness meditation can also serve psychologists as a means of self-care to prevent burnout. In conclusion, mindfulness has the potential to facilitate trainee and therapists' development, as well as affect change mechanisms known to contribute to successful psychotherapy. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Just enter your email address to receive these two free programs in addition to free content and savings from Sounds True. The music of Nawang Khechog is intended to help us find peace, calm, compassion, and wisdom in our hearts and minds. Here is a traditional honkyoku (or "original pieces") that expresses the intensity of the experience of birth and the sense of gratitude felt after the safe delivery of one's child. Offered to inspire the activation of your inner guide and healer, use these sounds to facilitate relaxation, inspiration, and meditation. Award-winning multi-percussionist and composer River Guerguerian draws on his years of experience to create a powerfully meditative and deeply tranquil soundspace. Shamans Dream blends the traditional art forms of Kerala, India, with the sounds of contemporary Western music. You will receive exclusive email discounts, find out about our latest releases, and get the inside scoop on Sounds True.
It takes practice and daily observation to notice your thoughts and environment yet no time at all to explore and experiment.
This encourages thoughtless awareness – observing the object without thought, labels or judgments. Not being physically aware (or mindful) of environment can lead to tripping on the stairs or spilling drinks and the like. Watch the wind, watch nature, birds, animals, enhance your senses; simply notice where you are and as a consequence the appreciation is greater.


We’ll share any lessons we learn, resources we find helpful, and tips to help you practice mindfulness.
This feature will provide you with updates on critical developments in psychology, drawn from peer-reviewed literature and written by leading psychology experts.
The practice has moved from a largely obscure Buddhist concept founded about 2,600 years ago to a mainstream psychotherapy construct today.
Among its theorized benefits are self-control, objectivity, affect tolerance, enhanced flexibility, equanimity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence and the ability to relate to others and one's self with kindness, acceptance and compassion. This article offers an overview of the research on mindfulness and discusses its implications for practice, research and training. To be consistent with most of the research reviewed in this article, we define mindfulness as a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. In one study, participants randomly assigned to an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction group were compared with controls on self-reported measures of depression, anxiety and psychopathology, and on neural reactivity as measured by fMRI after watching sad films (Farb et al., 2010). Improvements to working memory appear to be another benefit of mindfulness, research finds.
Another study examined how mindfulness meditation affected participants' ability to focus attention and suppress distracting information. Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity.
Another line of research suggests that in addition to helping people become less reactive, mindfulness meditation may also give them greater cognitive flexibility. Several studies find that a person's ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner.
Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain's middle prefrontal lobe area. Empirical literature demonstrates that including mindfulness interventions in psychotherapy training may help therapists develop skills that make them more effective.
Research found that premedical and medical students reported less anxiety and depressive symptoms after participating in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training compared with a waiting list control group (Shapiro et al., 1998). Using qualitative and quantitative measures, nursing students reported better quality of life and a significant decrease in negative psychological symptoms following exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training (Bruce, Young, Turner, Vander Wal, & Linden, 2002). To date, only one study has investigated the relationship between mindfulness and counseling self-efficacy. In a study conducted in Germany, randomly assigned counselor trainees who practiced Zen meditation for nine weeks reported higher self-awareness compared with nonmeditating counselor trainees (Grepmair et al., 2007).
Other research suggests that no relationship exists between therapist mindfulness and therapy outcome (Stratton, 2006).
It could be that "more mindful" people are likely to score lower on self-reports of mindfulness because they are more accurately able to describe their "mindlessness." Conversely, people who are less mindful may not realize it and therefore may be inclined to rate themselves higher on such measures. Future research is needed to examine the relations between therapists' mindfulness, therapists' regular mindfulness meditation practice and common factors known to contribute to successful treatment outcomes. Research on neuroplasticity may help explain the relationships among length and quality of meditation practice, developmental stages of meditators and psychotherapy outcomes.
Given that current research does not indicate that therapists' self-reported mindfulness enhances client outcomes, better measures of mindfulness may need to be developed or different research designs that do not rely on self-report measures need to be used.
Future research could investigate ways mindfulness practices and mindfulness meditation could be integrated into trainees' practicum and clinical supervision. For example, how does mindfulness meditation practice affect empathy and compassion for midcareer or late-career therapists who are experienced at mindfulness? Future research is needed on not only how the practice of mindfulness meditation helps facilitate trainee development and psychotherapy processes, but also how it can help therapists prevent burnout and other detrimental outcomes of work-related stress.
The field of psychology could benefit from future research examining cause and effect relationships in addition to mediational models in order to better understand the benefits of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation practice.
Davis, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow at the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline, Mass.
Hayes, PhD, is a professor of counseling psychology at the Pennsylvania State University department of educational psychology, counseling and special education. A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research," from the APA journal Psychotherapy (Vol. The Practice of Mindfulness invites you to join six Sounds True authors who are each considered leaders in bringing the many benefits of mindful living into our personal and professional lives. You’ll also get Weekly Wisdom, an inspiring selection of FREE audio, video, and articles. A tricky exercise at first because the mind wants to analyse the object yet by focusing on your breathing you can sense an acceptance of the object without labels. Not being aware (or mindful) of your thinking can lead to being dragged away from the present moment by past or future thinking. One of the experiment ideas she suggested happened to be the exact same experiment I had planned to do in December: Practicing Mindfulness.
I love personal experimentation and helping people improve their lives, one month at a time.
The researchers found that the participants who experienced mindfulness-based stress reduction had significantly less anxiety, depression and somatic distress compared with the control group.
A 2010 study by Jha et al., for example, documented the benefits of mindfulness meditation among a military group who participated in an eight-week mindfulness training, a nonmeditating military group and a group of nonmeditating civilians. The researchers compared a group of experienced mindfulness meditators with a control group that had no meditation experience.
In a study of people who had anywhere from one month to 29 years of mindfulness meditation practice, researchers found that mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate (Ortner et al., 2007). One study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation appear to develop the skill of self-observation, which neurologically disengages the automatic pathways that were created by prior learning and enables present-moment input to be integrated in a new way (Siegel, 2007a).
One study, for example, looked at premedical and medical students who participated in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training. The control group evidenced similar gains after exposure to mindfulness-based stress reduction training.


Evidence from a study of counselor trainees exposed to interpersonal mindfulness training suggests that such interventions can foster emotional intelligence and social connectedness, and reduce stress and anxiety (Cohen & Miller, 2009). Another study assessed changes in symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder among New Orleans mental health workers following an eight-week meditation intervention that began 10 weeks after Hurricane Katrina.
Greason and Cashwell (2009) found that counseling self-efficacy was significantly predicted by self-reported mindfulness among masters-level interns and doctoral counseling students.
But more important, after nine weeks of treatment, clients of trainees who meditated displayed greater reductions in overall symptoms, faster rates of change, scored higher on measures of well-being and perceived their treatment to be more effective than clients of nonmeditating trainees. More research is needed to better understand how the benefits of meditation practice accumulate over time. Garland and Gaylord (2009) have proposed that the next generation of mindfulness research encompass four domains: 1. Enjoy six beginner-friendly guided meditations aimed at increasing harmony in mind and body in order to open us to the fullness of our experience from one moment to the next.
Listening to certain forms of music may be one of the most immediate ways for us to enter this meditative state. As you read, become aware of your environment and how your senses and your body are relating to the space around you. Observation of breath reduces your thoughts and helps you stop thinking which encourages relaxation and also aids meditation. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them. In addition, the fMRI data indicated that the mindfulness group had less neural reactivity when they were exposed to the films than the control group, and they displayed distinctly different neural responses while watching the films than they did before their mindfulness training.
They found that the meditation group had significantly better performance on all measures of attention and had higher self-reported mindfulness. It found that the mindfulness group had significantly higher self-reported empathy than a control group (Shapiro, Schwartz, & Bonner, 1998).
Counselors in training who have participated in similar mindfulness-based interventions have reported significant increases in self-awareness, insights about their professional identity (Birnbaum, 2008) and overall wellness (Rybak & Russell-Chapin, 1998).
Similarly, following such training, therapist trainees have reported decreased stress, rumination and negative affect (Shapiro et al., 2007). Although changes in depression symptoms were not found, PTSD and anxiety symptoms significantly decreased after the intervention (Waelde et al., 2008).
In that study, attention mediated the relationship between mindfulness and self-efficacy, suggesting that mindfulness may contribute to the development of beneficial attentional processes that aid psychotherapists in training (Greason & Cashwell, 2009). Contrary to expectation, therapist mindfulness was inversely correlated with client outcome.
Future research questions could include: Does therapists' practice of mindfulness meditation in clinical supervision with their supervisees affect the supervisory alliance or relational skills of supervisees? Meditation Music: An Invitation to Still the Mind and Open the Heart brings you nine tracks chosen from our family of artists who are especially talented at creating compositions that support contemplative practices.
Notice also any thoughts you might have about what you are reading and other thoughts unrelated to these words. This exercise helps you tune in effortlessly to the present experience; which is being mindful. You can choose whatever sounds best to you, or you can experiment with different techniques. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group. The researchers concluded that mindfulness-based therapy may be useful in altering affective and cognitive processes that underlie multiple clinical issues. The researchers found that the nonmeditating military group had decreased working memory capacity over time, whereas working memory capacity among nonmeditating civilians was stable across time.
Mindfulness meditation practice and self-reported mindfulness were correlated directly with cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning (Moore and Malinowski, 2009). In 2006, a qualitative study of therapists who were experienced meditators found that they believed that mindfulness meditation helped develop empathy toward clients (Aiken, 2006). Self-compassion fully mediated the relationship between perspective taking and mindfulness.
In addition, when compared with a control group, mindfulness-based stress reduction training has been shown to decrease total mood disturbance, including stress, anxiety and fatigue in medical students (Rosenzweig, Reibel, Greeson, Brainard, & Hojat, 2003). The findings suggest that meditation may serve a buffering role for mental health workers in the wake of a disaster. Other potential benefits of mindfulness include increased patience, intentionality, gratitude and body awareness (Rothaupt & Morgan, 2007). Does practicing formal mindfulness meditation as a group in practicum or internship aid in group cohesion, self-care, relational skills or measurable common factors that contribute to successful psychotherapy?
Within the meditating military group, however, working memory capacity increased with meditation practice.
Along similar lines, Wang (2007) found that therapists who were experienced mindfulness meditators scored higher on measures of self-reported empathy than therapists who did not meditate.
In addition, the meditators had significantly better working memory capacity and were better able to sustain attention during a performance task compared with the control group.
In addition, meditation practice was directly related to self-reported positive affect and inversely related to self-reported negative affect.
Research along these lines is likely to enhance our understanding of mindfulness and its potential benefits to psychotherapy.



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