Training the mind to be present in the moment
The essence of mindfulness training is to train the mind to be present in the moment we have RIGHT NOW and to stay present without any judgment. This training helps our minds to become more objective about what is happening in our worlds. Through this we become less critical of how we and others think and behave. When we can begin to experience life in a more present and sensory way it is very peaceful and enjoyable.
Mindfulness training stems from the Theravada Buddhist practices 2,500 years ago and has only recently become an evidence based form of treatment for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
This is a term that is used to describe the brain changes that occur in response to experience. There are many types of neuroplasticity. Our brains may grow new connections or may create new neurons. Psychologists are experienced in the use of mindfulness based therapy in guiding people towards change. Mindfulness meditation integrated with other types of therapy such as cognitive behaviour therapy can support new skill acquisition. This is fundamentally no different than other forms of skill acquisition. Examples are learning a new musical instrument or learning to drive a car these skills can induce plastic changes in the brain.
A recent 2015 study The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies provides good evidence from a number of studies that meditation practice causes changes in brain structure and function. This is especially in those areas involved in self-referential processes such as self-awareness and self-regulation. There are other changes noted in areas involved in attention, executive functions, and creating new memory.
This means our brains can change with our repetitive mindfulness training. These changes help us regulate our feelings and have a better sense of self awareness. Results are improved attention, planning, decision making and problems solving as well as memory. This research study brings together a large number of MRI studies providing good scientific evidence for why this type of therapy can provide people with life skills and bring positive changes in their lives.
Psychologists at Barrenjoey Psychology on the northern beaches use mindfulness training with other therapies. When people commit to the regular meditation sessions and other therapy exercises change can happen in a relatively short period of time often 2-4 weeks.
Mindfulness Integrated Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
This is a four stage structured approach which takes from 8-12 weeks of therapy with one of the Barrenjoey psychologists with this type of training.
It is possible to change patterns of thinking and behaviour in a short period of time with the support of a trained psychologist from Barrenjoey psychology.
Maddalena Boccia, Laura Piccardi, and Paola Guariglia, “The Meditative Mind: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis of MRI Studies,” BioMed Research International, vol. 2015, Article ID 419808, 11 pages, 2015.
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