INTERVIEW ON MINDFULNESS
What is mindfulness?
Being mindful can be defined as paying attention to the present moment on purpose and in a non-judging way. Mindfulness of the mind is becoming aware of what is going on in your mind – using your mind as the object of your attention.
People don’t do that?
Actually no, there is scientific evidence that we only pay attention to the present moment in roughly 50% of the time.
See, nowadays we are facing lots of distractions, we all have demanding jobs, setting and maintaining boundaries for our work-life balance are a real challenge and people easily lose sight of what they actually want to do
There is information everywhere, we get interrupted and overwhelmed with news, signals, alerts, messages, email, media and games
Many of us find it increasingly difficult to focus
Why are you teaching it?
It started when I was a participant in a course on mindfulness-based stress reduction. After only a few weeks of practice I felt more calm, in control, concentrated and my wife told me that I was a better partner. she found I was much more aware and kind.
Then followed more programs, lectures and workshops and an inspiring course at Hong Kong University, because I wanted to fully understand the foundations and the philosophy of mindfulness, which is rooted in eastern tradition.
What can clients expect from being more mindful?
First thing that comes to my mind really is STRESS-REDUCTION. in so many ways. Better sleep, healthier immune system, increased memory, higher and longer concentration, sharper focus.
Second thing is all around developing healthy and helpful ATTITUDES for life. For example: Being able to let go of things that bother you; having the courage to be patient and mastering the art of not making bad things worse
Do you use it in therapy?
I frequently use it with individual clients, but also with couples and of course I like teaching it to groups of people. In groups there is more sharing and interactive experience going on, which often helps people to learn better.
How does that work in therapy?
Mindfulness is a meta-cognitive approach and therefore can be used in combination with cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).
That means that I choose interventions on different levels. I can look at patterns of behaviour and into beliefs and negative thoughts on one level; but also learn how to take a step back and bring some distance between me and my thoughts.