Mindfulness based psychotherapy is an approach which is designed to train individuals to deliberately focus one’s attention on the present experience in a non-judgemental way.Although this is based on a contemplative approach, mindfulness can be present in a vast array of activities.  We do not have to meditate (though this is incredibly beneficial!) in order to be mindful.  Perhaps we consciously re-connect with our breathe throughout the day, or go out in nature for a walk, or paint, or listen to music, or even colour!  I have heard so many examples from clients of times when they feel totally present, that it is not a one size fits all solution. In addition, mindfulness is incredibly beneficial for not only adults, but children as well!  Please read a recent Calgary Herald article by Dr Peter Nieman (Pediatrician; President of the Alberta Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics) regarding the use of mindfulness in children and youth.

How can this help with the stress?  My food addiction? My IBS?

Great question! By cultivating an awareness of our moment-to-moment experience, rather than living in the past, or worrying about the future, we are “firing on all cylinders” and able to intentionally direct our focus on that which is observed in the present situation.

We are not occupied by a frightening or worrisome thought, but rather acknowledging our current state of being in a non-judgemental way.  Our experiences/thoughts/emotions are neither good nor bad.  They just are; and by being able to label them and “be” with them, rather than stuff them down with food, run away in fear, avoid, or whatever maladaptive coping strategy we may be using, mindfulness provides emotional healing over time and can be transferred across all domains of our life.