The benefits of the practice of mindfulness are many – from improving focus, memory, physical health and sleep quality, to reducing stress levels and emotional pain.
We all face multiple demands and distractions in our daily lives. Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to concentrate, and how frustrated you can get? Distractions can make it hard to get things done, and become so overwhelming at times that it becomes difficult to control your feelings.
What is Distraction?
Distraction can come from either internal or external sources. For example, self-talk, bodily sensations, and emotions are internal, while the environment and people around us are external sources of distraction.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we are constantly being bombarded by external – as well as internal – distractions. This can lead to us feeling powerless to manage our daily lives, and nobody likes to feel out of control.
As human beings, we tend to deal with unpleasant emotions – such as being powerless – by pushing aside our thoughts and feelings, and avoiding certain experiences that may trigger them. According to research however, avoiding and ignoring these feelings can, in the long run, lead to more suffering.
A Different Way to Manage Emotional Pain
Mindfulness is a different and more effective way to manage emotional pain.
Instead of attempting to suppress or avoid difficult feelings, it is about paying close attention to what you are doing in the present moment, noticing when your attention wanders, and bringing it back to what you’re doing. In this way, mindfulness increases acceptance, openness and tolerance to emotional distress. By fully engaging in the present moment with a non-judgmental stand, we become more able to simply observe our thoughts and feelings, without intense behavioural reactivity.
Common Mindfulness Techniques
In addition, mindfulness offers many other benefits than just managing emotional pain. It can improve concentration and memory, and overall health and wellbeing. Your psychologist can teach you some helpful mindfulness techniques that you can practice in everyday life, including:
- Body scan;
- Breathing exercises;
- Mindful acceptance of thoughts and emotions;
- Mindful awareness of movement;
- Performing everyday tasks – such as cooking, washing, cleaning and gardening, in a mindful way.
Practising mindfulness builds your capacity for focusing on the present moment, and in the process assists you to identify and distance yourself from unpleasant feelings, and any maladaptive emotional schemas you may have developed.
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness techniques, and how to utilise them in your everyday life, to better manage stress and alleviate emotional pain, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.
Author: Claire Pang, B Psych (Hons), Masters of Clinical Psychology.
Claire’s work in the hospital environment, the disability sector and private practice has expanded her knowledge and skills in helping people dealing with life’s challenges, such as better managing emotional pain. She gains great fulfillment and inspiration through witnessing human resilience again and again in her clinical work.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Claire Pang, you can book online or freecall 1800 877 924 today.
- Leahy, Robert (2011). Emotion regulation in psychotherapy: a practitioner’s guide. New York: Guilford Press
- Harris, Russ (2009). ACT made simple: An easy-to read primer on acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.
- Dunkely C., Stanto, M (2014). Teaching clients to use mindfulness skills: A practical guide. Hove, East Sussex: Routledge.