What is Mindfulness Integrated Therapy?
Wellness is a mind-body experience. How you think affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you think. This means that it’s silly to believe we can separate the body and the mind during therapy, treating each individually. Instead of using only one modality to treat anxiety disorders, I’ve adopted a holistic approach to wellness that integrates a top-down and bottom-up approach.
How Mindfulness Integrated Therapy Works
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a top-down approach that helps guide you to identify, evaluate, and modify your thoughts to live a more satisfying life. In therapy, I offer psychoeducation that helps you better understand how the brain works and how we can modify the thoughts we endorse to break maladaptive habits and promote healthier ones. Through various exercises, your brain has the opportunity to practice identifying cognitive distortions that keep you in a prison of self doubt.
By gaining an increased level of self-awareness, you are better able to practice self compassion and let go of unnecessary self criticism and punishment.
How Changing Your Mindset Can Affect Your Body
Changing how you think is extremely powerful because it directly affects the endorphins and neurotransmitters that your brain produces. This means that your brain is more likely to produce immune boosting chemicals and natural painkillers when you have a positive attitude. By doing so, your body feels better, which reinforces the cultivation of healthier thoughts.
So, if you can practice exercises that affect your thoughts and thereby your body... then why should you check in with you body to see how it is affecting your thoughts? Because we have to remember that our minds and bodies are integrated!
Anxiety is not just about racing thoughts–it’s a whole body experience. When you’re anxious, your body reacts as if it’s in danger. Your blood pressure increases, your heart starts to race, and your muscles become tense. If your body stays in a state of stress for too long, the stress on your body starts to affect your emotional wellbeing. This means you may start to feel more anxious, depressed, tense, or moody.
How Checking In With Your Body Can Help Your Mindset
When you’re feeling stressed, moody, tense, or depressed, give yourself the opportunity to take a step back and check in with your body. If you are able to tune into your body and track your fight or flight response, you can practice breathing exercises to mindfully regulate your breathing and introduce a healthy amount of oxygen to your brain and heart. This will aid in reducing your heart rate and blood pressure while promoting relaxation. If you are feeling more relaxed, you’re more likely to feel better. And, when you feel better, you’re thinking more adaptively.
The Mind And Body Work Together
This is pretty amazing because research is now confirming that our state of mind can be used as a resource for healing! Practicing mindful exercises, such as yoga or pranayama (breathing exercises), is a bottom-up approach to healing. Meanwhile, analyzing and modifying our thoughts is a top-down approach to healing. With a balance of the two, your can make transformational changes in your life!
So, that’s the gist! If you’re keen on learning more, feel free to read more of my blog posts or contact ABC Therapy to set up an appointment.