Improving Mindfulness: What We Can Learn From Therapy

Hearing someone say that they go to therapy is not as shocking or stigmatizing as it was back in the day. More and more people are becoming open to the idea of going to therapy. People go to therapy for all kinds of reasons. And a lot of people have benefited from doing so. If you’re looking to improve your mind, there are plenty of techniques from different therapies that you can apply in your daily life.

Of course, these shouldn’t be substitutes for actual therapy. Always seek professional help if you feel that need it. These are simply lessons and practices based on different therapy that you could apply daily. It isn’t actual therapy itself.

  1. Journaling

Journaling is one of the most common therapy techniques there is. There are plenty of ways to approach journaling. You can do it the traditional way, which is by tracking down your experiences and feelings throughout the day. Or you can take a different route and instead of writing down your thoughts (which can be negative), you write down what you feel thankful for. This is called gratitude journaling, and it is done to help you focus on the more positive things in your life rather than the negative.

You can also try writing letters. It can be letters to yourself or other people. Of course, you don’t have to show these letters to the “recipient”, unless you want to. It’s just a way for you to get out your frustrations and your emotions towards that person. And maybe one day you’ll work up the courage to tell these people how you feel and have an open and mature conversation with them. But if you aren’t quite ready, writing letters to them and keeping them to yourself is a good practice.

       2. Naming your emotions

Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is known to be one of the most effective techniques in helping with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and personality disorders. Its main focus is to help people, especially those who feel intense emotions, to understand their feelings better. They do this by teaching four skills: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Naming your emotions is a good way to practice all four of these skills. You practice mindfulness by being aware of what you’re feeling. You practice emotion regulation by identifying what is causing you to feel this way. You practice distress tolerance by accepting the emotions that you feel. And interpersonal effectiveness by learning how to express your feelings towards others. But allowing them to express their feelings towards you as well.

If you’re angry, say you’re angry and figure out why you’re angry. Say “I’m angry because you left the toilet seat up again.” Or, “I’m sad that you have to leave so soon.” Naming your emotions allows you to see patterns in your emotions. It also allows you to assess how you can solve your problems.

         3. Meditating

People think meditating is easy. In a sense it is, but it requires practice to meditate properly. Meditating is not just about sitting down in silence and letting your mind drift. You have to meditate with awareness and mindfulness. When you’re meditating your mind isn’t supposed to be drifting away. It is a chance for you to be conscious of everything you’re doing at present — from the way you’re breathing to the weight of your body on the ground. You’re becoming aware of everything going inside and even outside of you.


         4. Facing your fears

In behavioral therapy, they call this systematic desensitization. This is usually done to get rid of phobias, panic disorders, or anxiety. They do so by gradually exposing you to your fears. It usually starts with simply imagining what you fear, and slowly desensitizing you to that fear until you no longer feel any anxiety from it.

You probably don’t realize it, but this is already something people normally do. Say, preparing yourself for a public speech. Before you do the speech, you practice in front of a mirror by yourself. Then you work your way up to presenting it to close friends or family. Until you build the confidence to finally do it on a stage in public.

       5. Changing your perspective

Sometimes people are unable to solve their problems because they’re only looking at it from one point of view. Once in a while, you need to learn to step back and look at things from a different perspective to solve your problems. There are two ways to do so, either by externalization or deconstruction.

Externalization allows you to distance yourself from your problems. Seeing it as a separate entity from yourself and not something about you that is unchangeable. You can practice externalization by writing the problem down or drawing it. That way you see it from a different perspective and not something you have to internalize.

Deconstruction is somewhat like externalization. Except instead of distancing yourself from the problem, you take your problem apart. Doing so will allow you to see more clearly what it is you should be focusing on to solve the problem. Say you’ve been feeling bad for a while now. And it’s not the result of just one thing but multiple things. Instead of trying to solve the problem as a whole. You deconstruct what those things are that made you feel this way and deal with each issue one by one.

Again if you feel the need to seek professional help, do so. These are simply ways you can apply different therapy techniques into your daily life.

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