Thursday, December 29, 2011

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution with Mindfulness

By Brandon Cornejo M.D., Ph.D.
How many of you are trying to get yourselves back into a regular gym and exercise routine for your New Year's resolution? When it comes to exercise, one of the biggest challenges is staying motivated and consistent. I hope I can help you with this two-part blog post on "Mindfulness."
What is Mindfulness?
  • Mindfulness is a nonjudgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises is acknowledged and accepted.
Mindfulness as a Therapeutic Approach
  • Mindfulness based stress reduction means to focus your attention on the "now."
  • People practicing mindfulness work on not judging or evaluating the present moment but focus on simply “being” present.
  • People in a formal mindfulness class engage in daily meditation along with skill-building homework that ties them to the “here and now.” 
 How Does Mindfulness Work?
  • Mindfulness allows a person to pause calmly and reflectively before reacting to things.
  • Mindfulness may prevent relapse of clinical depression by allowing a person to have some “space” between who they are and their emotions.
  • Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), a form of therapy that combines elements of mindfulness with cognitive based approaches to treatment, can be an effective approach for the treatment of anxiety or depressive disorders.
  • Mindfulness may enhance mood as well as help eliminate negative thoughts associated with depressive states.
So why is "mindfulness" important to keeping that New Year's resolution of daily exercise? Next week, I will post part two with my tips for staying in the present moment while exercising. Happy New Year's!

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