Meditation and mindfulness in counselling and psychotherapy
Meditation and mindfulness; what's the difference? Meditation is an umbrella term that describes various approaches to mental development including concentration, visualisation and mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that enhances your ability to be aware of each passing moment in an open and accepting way.
There are many different ways to meditate and not all of them involve sitting still with your eyes closed. Meditation is about focusing your awareness. Although there are different ways to meditate, you'll usually be aiming to focus all your attention on one thing for a period of time. There are some myths about meditation; you are not trying to empty your mind or go into some kind of trance!
Why meditate? Meditation seems to offer the perfect recipe for mental wellbeing and it's good for you physically too. Research has identified a wide range of benefits including:
- enhanced self-esteem,
- better sleep,
- reduced stress,
- more optimism and happiness and
- improved concentration.
You can see why meditation and mindfulness is recommended for the treatment and prevention of numerous mental health problems, notably anxiety and depression. I've prepared a couple of meditations you might like to try.
The Gratitude Meditation is unusual in that you keep your eyes open throughout and there's some movement involved. That makes it quite an easy one to start with. It's great for everyone, but especially useful if you're feeling a bit down or depressed.
I've recorded a more conventional meditation on the breath. It's a short introduction to classic meditation suitable for anyone.
I've also recorded a longer meditation on the body, breath and sound. It's 15 minutes long and offers a variety of experiences to meditate on.
Mindfulness in nature brings ecotherapy into the mix to create a powerful synergy.