Mindfulness is a general term that we use for awareness. It is the activity of our mind when we are intentionally paying attention in the present moment with curiosity and kindness in an accepting and non-judgmental way. The negative judgments add layers of suffering to our experiences. We gain more ease as we learn to step back, to realize that we are more than our thoughts, emotions or body sensations.
The stress response “fight or flight” is an unconscious and reflexive physiological response when we perceive a challenge or threat. This automatic response from the autonomic nervous system, cause quick changes to prepare the body to deal with stressful events. External situations like a looming deadline or internal event such as worrying about losing a job can trigger an avalanche of stress hormones that produces a group of physiological changes such as heart pounding, muscle tension and fast shallow breathing.
Mindful Self-Compassion is the essence of emotional healing. It is the art of supporting ourselves like a good friend. So as we become aware in the moment that we are struggling, we can begin to respond to ourselves with kindness and wisdom to promote ease, more well-being and better relationships in our lives.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT) is a validated and empirically proven psychological intervention that promotes acceptance and mindfulness as well as commitment strategies to increase psychological strengths and flexibility. This model was initially developed in the late 1980’s by Steven Hayes, Kelly Wilson and Kirk Strosahl. They propose that life is not necessarily about happiness but rather to be present with what is there, and then act in a way that is guided by our personal core values.
Our mind never stops, it chatters all day and all night, often in automatic. We can give our mind a break from the constant chatter by practicing mindfulness: by becoming present, experiencing the here and now, being aware, using our senses, breathing, accepting, appreciating what is around us. And in those moments of self-awareness, we have the opportunity to re-wire our brain, to choose to think differently, to change our brain, to change our mind.
The diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome(AS) has been revised in the DSM-V(2013) to represents a new, more accurate medically and scientifically useful way of diagnosing individuals with autism-related disorders. Asperger’s Syndrome has been re-classified in the Autism Spectrum Disorder, more specifically on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum, however, the term Asperger’s Syndrome is still widely used. Individual with Asperger’s Syndrome or as they called themselves “Aspies”, typically, have social difficulties, poor communication skills, restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour and a narrow field of interest.
Compassionate mind training promotes inner experiences of understanding, safety, warmth and comfort which in turn will reduce anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that we can learn to be more kind to ourselves and to especially replace the inner critic with a compassionate voice to ease difficult emotions, to build inner resources, strengths and motivation. It has been found that people who rate higher in self-compassion experiences more positive emotions, more well-being, better quality of life and more satisfying relationships.
A few years ago “Mindfulness” was mostly unknown or called “alternative” but there has been extensive research in neuroscience which increasingly is showing that mindfulness practices helps us to be more calm, resilient, to enjoy, to have positive relationships at home but also in the workplace becoming more productive, reducing medical cost and overall improving the quality of our life.