Mindfulness and Manifestation: Your path to getting past negativity

By sam Goodman

Editor in Chief

Art provided by Azzah B.A

Art provided by Azzah B.A

Think about something you are good at. What did it take to become a master of your craft? It most likely took knowledge and understanding of your field, a conscious effort, and diligent practice. This process, often applied to sports, theater, art, and academics, is also applicable to a period of mental health recovery. This practice of expanded awareness of your experiences, both internal and external, from a nonjudgmental and compassionate perspective, is called mindfulness and is a form of therapy often used to treat anxiety and OCD.

“In [a state of mindfulness], we are fully awake to the present moment, as opposed to hanging out in our heads— in the future or past where anxiety resides. When you are mindful, your thoughts are focused on what’s unfolding around you. You observe everything taking place in the moment from a neutral perspective. Nothing is either good or bad,” Psychotherapist and author of Break Free from Anxiety Ken Goodman writes.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a form of cognitive therapy that incorporates meditation and breathing exercises with the intention of learning how to break negative thought patterns.

Mindfulness exercises take the form of everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, walking your dog, or waving hi to a stranger, all with the goal of entering a state of compassionate awareness.

“The ultimate goal of Meta-Cognitive Therapy is to develop a greater capacity to willingly accept the presence of anxiety-producing thoughts, feelings, and sensations without bias, judgment, or reaction...without [the] intention of changing [them],” the OCD Center of Los Angeles’ Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Manual said.

Because the human brain is designed to focus on negative thoughts, we over-attend to, overvalue, and over respond to anxiety, only producing more anxious and depressive thoughts and feelings, according to the OCD Center of Los Angeles. However, the thoughts are not the problem, it is the constant focus on said thoughts that is targeted through MBCT.

Psychotherapists who use MBCT to treat patients often attempt to accurately label thoughts and emotions, according to Psychology Today.

“If you act more in accordance with your emotions, knowing and understanding what you are feeling will help you be effective in making wise choices. Being able to name your emotions and identify the reasons for your feelings [is] important...Because feelings just are; you accept them without requiring evidence. Instead, you [must] check to see if your feelings are justified,” Dr. Karyn Hall writes.

Along with the teaching of viewing thoughts and emotions from an unbiased perspective, thus sparking an overall change in attitude, mindfulness therapy can also include mediation and breathing exercises.

The goal of breathing exercises is to teach patients how to bring their attention to the present moment by understanding how they are feeling physically. This includes body scan, environmental documentation, and hyperfocus on the sound and feeling of breathing, according to Psychotherapist Kim Pratt and Healthy Psych.

MBCT, the practice of self-compassion, can also connect to the awareness and consciousness to slow down and take a moment to understand what you need physically, mentally, and emotionally, according to the Huffington Post. Technology caps to reserve time for self-care and homework limits to catch up on sleep are just a few examples of how mindfulness can find its way into your everyday life.

“Mindfulness is a natural quality that we all have. It’s available to us in every moment if we take the time to appreciate it. When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves— space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions,” Mindful’s editorial board writes.