Mindfulness: am I doing it "right"?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Dr Kornilia Givissi, Chartered Counselling Psychologist CPsychol, HCPC Reg
17th July, 20170 Comments
Mindfulness has grown in popularity in recent years, moving miles from its Eastern and spiritual routes to a secular, occasionally branded and marketed, often life transforming practice.
It is now being heavily researched by psychologists and neuroscientists, becoming mainstream and offered in a number of mental health organisations and the NHS as a treatment option for anxiety and depression.
Whilst information about mindfulness is widely available, and popular applications and websites offer easy access to guided practices, one thing that I hear my clients struggling with is the nagging sense that they are doing it "wrong".
Anything offered as a "treatment" carries the expectation to treat the particular issue at hand. And whilst mindfulness has a growing and increasingly more robust evidence base for effectiveness, it also has an inherent paradox: the practice of mindfulness seeks no other purpose but the connection to the present moment.
Mindfulness is an invitation to connect to the present moment in a non-judgemental way. This means welcoming all experiences, from relaxation, to stress, to emotional turmoil, to boredom. Often people feel that mindfulness "should" be relaxing, or calming. It might be, and sometimes people find a sense of peace after a practice. However it might not be, it might put someone in touch with distressing thoughts, difficult emotions and uneasy bodily sensations.
If you are practising mindfulness, use your skills of paying attention, in the present moment, non-judgmentally to kindly check whether you beat yourself up for not having a particular kind of experience. And if this is the case, remember that whatever your present moment is, noticing it and being fully in it, is the practice of mindfulness.
About the author
Dr Kornilia Givissi is a counselling psychologist (HCPC reg). She is working in private practice and leads the Psychological Therapies team at a local Mind. She works with clients in a variety of areas including body image, relationships, life transition and self-harm, using an integrative approach. She is also an active researcher and author.
Related articles from our experts
Antonella Zottola MBACP, Dip. CounsellingJune 18th, 2018
Greg Savva, Counselling in Twickenham & Whitton, Masters Degree, UKCP,June 14th, 2018
Food For Thought Eating Disorders Counselling - Lynn Moore BA(Hons), MBACP(Reg.)June 18th, 2018
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Imi Lo: Specialist Psychotherapist, Art Therapist (MMH,FRSA,UKCP,HCPC)March 29th, 2015
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.