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Mindfulness and Meditation in Psychology

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Mindfulness and Meditation in Psychology


Clients seek psychological therapy for mental health issues because they have come to a point in their lives that they feel that an improvement in their mental state would have a positive affect in their personal lives. A client's behavioral health affects how a client thinks about themselves and how the client interacts with the world around them.

Mindfulness is, "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness and meditation empowers the individual to work with one's own stress, illness, challenges, and demands of daily living. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into therapy for mental health and mental illness, optimal therapeutic effects may be achieved.

Mindfulness and meditation involves a cognitive change in lifestyle by the client. This behavioral change helps people to relax mentally as well as emotionally which eventually leads to a strengthen immune system. The purpose of this paper is to describe the optimal therapeutic effects achieved by mindfulness and meditation.


Humans are emotional creatures, they think and react emotionally. By training the brain to practice mindful meditation and similar techniques, a person can learn to be more objective in an emotionally difficult situation. Client's who suffer from chronic and terminal illnesses, such as breast cancer, also suffer from depression associated with emotional stress.

In an article by Krasner, it was noted that a group of 27 breast cancer patients showed a significant decrease in levels of anxiety, a positive increase in mental adjustments, and a diminished sense of helpless. Mindfulness helps a patient internalize their locus of control which gives a patient power over their disease and destiny. This empowerment and optimum therapeutic effect produces positive brain activity which in turn help boost the patient's immune system.

Another advantage of mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT), is the diminished relapse of a depressive state. MA and Teasdale in an article noted that, "MBCT is a cost-efficient and efficacious intervention to reduce relapse/recurrence in patients with recurrent major depressive disorder." As a person learns to be more aware of the present moment and not judge, reflect, or become engrossed in it. Their control over their emotional state is stronger.

The client learns to recognize future feeling of insecurity and is prepared not to act in a mindless, automatic manner. Violence, alcohol, and drug abuse are only a few of the many negative outcomes that occur when people are not prepared to deal with traumatic emotions. Because a person may feel that their emotional state is uncontrollable and everlasting they may not see that in reality emotions are merely transient.

Mindfulness consists of paying attention to an experience from moment to moment -- without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in neurotic thoughts or opinions about what's going on. One of the goals of meditation is the "mindful state," which is awareness of objects, mind-states, and physical states but not attached to them.

We tend to fall into patterns. Patterns are attachments formed when we cannot distinguish between what we do, why we do it, and who we are. Meditation psychologically reinforces the mind and body affect. It helps establish more control on what we do and how our body reacts on what we do. This is called functional awareness; a client must learn that they are separate from their functions.

According to Benner, "some



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