Mindfulness – How Being “Present” Reduces Stress

Damien MacMunn

With firm roots in Buddhism, mindfulness is a heightened state of attention and awareness to the present moment. Individuals high in mindfulness perceive their environment in a non-judgemental way, are not fixated on past events or overly concerned about the future, and approach experiences with curiosity and acceptance. Mindful people spend most of their time and energy focusing on the present, paying attention to and accepting current thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Present mindedness has been tied strongly to human wellbeing and thriving. Through mechanisms such as a less threatening evaluation of one’s environment, mindfulness helps people to de-escalate stressful situations and circumstances. The research is clear – mindfulness acts as a buffer to stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression among other undesirable human experiences, and reduces the harmful impact that a stressful environment can exert on people. This means that it can be useful to build and cultivate mindfulness, a protective factor, when one cannot escape stressful circumstances. 

Fortunately, evidence suggests that a person’s level of mindfulness can be developed over time, through practice and repetition. Supporting therapy, a trained psychologist can work with you to foster greater attention to and awareness of present moment experience. This could include, for instance, the application of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which incorporates mindfulness practices as a part of a broader treatment program, or separate mindfulness-building strategies that support other forms of treatment, such as breathing techniques or formal meditation. 

In any case, the team at Cause Effect Psychology are experts in all things mindfulness, and will tailor mindfulness-based interventions to suit your preference and therapy-needs. If you are interested in building your ability to be attentive and immersed in present reality, please book an appointment with one our skilled team members. 

Written by Damien MacMunn – Cause Effect Psychology

Reference: Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology84(4), 822.

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