According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 18% of adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder. As mental illness reaches epidemic proportions, innovative solutions and effective treatment options are required.
Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in dealing with various mental health challenges and symptoms. Beyond breathing exercises, mindfulness means being fully aware of the facets of the body and mind. This helps in assessing intrusive thoughts and emotional reactions.
Mindfulness Strategies by Diagnosis
By working with a therapist who specializes in mindfulness-based therapy, you may receive positive therapeutic benefits at a faster rate. Here are a few areas where mindfulness treatment can improve mental health.
Stress and Anxiety
Studies have shown that mindfulness therapy is an effective solution for stress management. The approach works through a focused relaxing of the body and mind during, and after, stressful events.
Mindfulness practices alleviate anxiety by focusing oneself on your present state, rather than worries about the future or other destructive ruminations.
More than a billion people around the world suffer from some form of chronic pain. Physical pain and other terminal conditions can seriously affect mental well-being.
Mindfulness makes daily trials with chronic pain more manageable. It allows the mind to observe the pain objectively and accept the sensation’s role in one’s life. Therapy that incorporates mindfulness can increase quality of life by providing an increased level of mental relief for chronic pain.
Mindfulness leads to better control over emotions, which can be beneficial for coping with depression.
The practice allows people to be present in the moment, rather than sinking into the black hole of negative thoughts, rejection, and self-criticism. This awareness ensures a more holistic response to any situation without being caught up in overwhelming or negative emotions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD introduces a constant storm of intrusive thoughts and compulsions. This often leads to disruptive, ritualistic behaviors or the inability to leave the house due to irrational thought patterns around disastrous scenarios.
Mindfulness therapy can help those who live with OCD achieve peace through a clearer mind. A therapist can teach clients with OCD to respond with mindfulness techniques when their thoughts or compulsions impede one’s ability to feel in control of a situation.
Substance Abuse and Addiction
The desire to avoid pain and discomfort is sometimes a component of substance abuse and potential relapse. These actions arise from a need to continuously experience stimuli that provide a pleasurable feeling. Substance abuse and addiction negatively affect mental health by tying compulsions to detrimental desires.
Practicing mindfulness helps create awareness around the root of these desires, and the ability to feel negative emotions without judgment. Focusing on the available freedom to make the right choice in each moment helps reduce cravings that lead to destructive behaviors. Rather than avoiding issues behind addiction, mindfulness encourages inquiry into specific thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness as a Solution
While mindfulness might seem unconventional, it’s an increasingly accepted method of achieving a healthier mind. Therapists who teach mindfulness techniques to their clients do so to help them cope with mental health challenges and strive for a sense of peace.
How do you clear your mind?
If you’re feeling stressed, there are a few ways you can clear your mind by simply modifying your daily routine. Consider journaling as a way to externalize your thoughts and worries onto a page, it will help expand your perspective and give you better insight into the source of your stress. Spending time in nature is also proven to be therapeutic and increases our Vitamin D levels, lifting our mood and suppressing rumination. You can also consider limiting your exposure to social media, as constant updates tend to induce our stress, inflaming our anxiety and depression. Going analog provides a break to your eyes and muscles from the strains of sitting in front of a screen endlessly. Maintaining a healthy diet can also help reduce your stress, a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, veggies, and fish is known to benefit your mental health.
If the concept of mindfulness appeals to you, consider connecting with a professional therapist who can aid you in its practice, providing a beneficial boost on your mental health journey.
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
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