Mindfulness can be a great tool and aid in dealing with common mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. It is often recommended as a treatment selected for those suffering from minor to medium levels of depression and anxiety. Or simply for people wanting to make life changes for a less stressful life. When choosing mindfulness as your chosen therapy in making life changes, it is likely you have many questions about what to expect and may have some apprehension if using a therapy new to you. We, at Seek a Therapy, want to help answer your questions and concerns surrounding mindfulness in order to help you select the right practitioner for you, and on this page, we have included some of the most common questions a person may have before attending therapy.
What is Mindfulness?
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
Contrary to what many may believe, mindfulness is not simply meditating, mindfulness is a way of life. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing and not become overwhelmed by anything that is going on around us. It can be incorporated and cultivated into all we do through proven techniques. Although meditation is not the only part of mindfulness it is an important part. Seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation is often a part of mindfulness, a way to add short pauses into everyday life merging meditation practice with other activities such as sports or even cooking!
When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.
What to Expect From Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness explains by Shauna Shapiro at TED.
Understanding what to expect from treatment can be helpful when assessing whether mindfulness could be an effective treatment for you. Generally, the purpose of treatment is to reduce your symptoms to a level that is manageable for you and not let them interfere with an individual’s quality of life anymore. Mindfulness is not a quick solution or cure but a new way of thinking and a change in lifestyle to promote a healthier way of being, thus, it usually takes several sessions and some dedication and routine before you start to see the benefit of the therapy.
A therapist will introduce you to the theories and ideas of mindfulness, practice some of the techniques, and also help you to understand how you can continue practicing after your therapy sessions end. It has been proven through research that the therapy helps around 70 -80% of people that undertake treatment so 4 in 5 people are likely to benefit from this form of therapy.
For those with severe mental illnesses such as severe depression/anxiety, it usually advisable to use a combination of both medication and mindfulness to help control symptoms but please seeks your GP’s advice if this is the case for you and they will be able to advise you better. Also, if you are experiencing some previous trauma you should ideally seek a mindfulness practitioner who has expertise in that particular area as symptoms could worsen with some of the methods applied by mindfulness.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your condition then please speak to a medical professional before you decide upon using mindfulness therapy.
How Does Mindfulness Empower Us?
Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future and to begin to learn to go of negative thoughts that can make us become depressed. The therapy also gives us a greater awareness of their own body, helping you to identify signs of oncoming depression and ward off episodes before it starts.
How Can The Therapy Help With My Wellbeing?
Mindfulness can help ease your depression and/or anxiety because it helps you to identify your illness, your feelings and life issues surrounding it. It will raise issues in your past that will help you focus on things in the present and help you to build resilience for future challenges that may arise.
It can help you:
- Stress related illness
- Mild to Moderate levels of depression
- Social Anxiety
- Improved lifestyle
- Improved sense of peace and belonging
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve sleep
- Substance Abuse
- Eating Disorders
- Many more things that are not listed here
How Much Does A Typical Mindfulness Session Cost?
If you are based in the UK you can ask your GP for help with a mindfulness practitioner on the NHS but often there is a wait or sometimes, depending on your area, not available at all. If this is the case then you can go private ( and we have several practitioners in our directory in the UK, USA, Europe, and Asia) where costs range from £30/$50 per session and sometimes can go up to £100/$200 and occasionally more depending upon the therapist’s experience, specialty, and location.
How Do I Know Which Mindfulness Teacher To Choose?
Your GP will often have several accredited mindfulness teachers that they can point you in the direction of but even if they do, and you feel that the therapist isn’t right for you, then it is completely fine to find a new specialist.
As in all therapy, it is important that the relationship between yourself and the therapist is trusting and supportive in order to be able to open up about all your thoughts and feelings in order for you to be able to work on them and begin practicing mindfulness meditation and mindful living.
When you find the right therapist that offers you good communication, a partnership, trust, goals, and a feeling of genuine understanding then together, over time, you will be able to challenge your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions and live a more peaceful lifestyle.
How Long Does Mindfulness Take To Help Me?
Mindfulness is not a quick fix solution. The practice is not only a therapy but a new way of thinking and an improved lifestyle and thus, learning the techniques and strategies as well as practicing does take time. Although you should see your therapist for a minimum of five sessions you will likely see some improvement once you start implementing your mindfulness program.
What If It Doesn’t Work For Me?
First of all, don’t worry!
If you think mindfulness is the right therapy but you have the wrong therapist then you have every right to seek a second opinion and you will not offend your therapist, they just want you to heal from your difficulty as best you can and you deserve to feel better. If, on the other hand, you don’t feel the therapy is working at all then do not be disheartened, there are many, many different types of therapy to help you and mindfulness is only one. Use our therapy directory to find a different therapy, you may find hypnotherapy works better or possibly some holistic treatment. The key is not to think this is your only option there are many keys that will open your door to wellbeing.
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Please note: This information should not replace professional medical advice, it is purely for informational purposes. At all times when you are in crisis please first seek help from your GP or another medical professional. Thank you