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What Are Mindfulness-Based Interventions?
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are therapeutic approaches grounded in mindfulness that promote the practice as an important part of good physical and mental health. Designed to help mitigate symptoms of stress, mental health problems, and physical pain, MBIs are increasingly being used in recovery treatment centers. They have a long-standing history in Eastern practices and have risen in popularity in the last few decades as a therapeutic model for addiction recovery.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are some mindfulness-based interventions currently utilized in therapy.
Designed to deliberately focus a person’s attention on the present experience in a way that is non-judgmental, mindfulness-based interventions, whether offered individually or in a group setting, may provide benefit to people seeking therapy for any number of concerns. Those that would benefit the most from MBIs the most are those who have bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder, and eating disorders, along with relapse prevention in addiction.
Types of Mindfulness-Based Therapies
Proven Benefits of Mindful-Based Interventions
There are several benefits to therapeutically using MBIs for those in addiction recovery or mental health disorders. Research has indicated the following health benefits, according to the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Stress reduction – Many studies show the practice of mindfulness reduces stress and increases the positive effect and decreases anxiety and negative impact. It shifts people’s way of feeling emotions in a way that enables them to experience them selectively, thereby processing them differently in the brain.
- Boosts to working memory – Another benefit of mindfulness meditation is the way it works on memory. It seems the memory center of the brain is activated with mindfulness practice, which leads to an increase in working memory capacity.
- Less emotional reactivity –Researchers found that those who practiced mindfulness for a year and upwards to thirty years were able to disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures, enabling them to focus better on a cognitive task compared to those who saw the pictures but never practiced mindfulness.
- Focus – Another study reviewed how mindfulness meditation practice affected people. A group of experienced mindfulness meditators and those with no meditation practice were studied, with the results showing that the mindfulness meditators had much higher performance on all measures of attention. They also found that they had higher self-reported mindfulness.
- Relationship satisfaction – Several studies found that relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress per communicating one’s emotions to a partner — was higher in the mindfulness group. Evidence suggests that mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of a relationship.
Mindfulness-based interventions are part of a greater overall therapy model for individuals in addiction or mental health disorder recovery. The benefit of being present and allowing your mind to accept your thoughts and feelings is a powerful antidote to stress and anxiety.
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