I am so pleased to hear that the concept of mindfulness has made it to the mainstream public schools. Recently I learned that mindfulness specialists have begun to work with children in the schools. I can only hope that teachers are learning to use these techniques to reduce their own stress and improve their own lives as well. One definition of mindfulness is: Maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Many of my clients want to learn to ‘be in the moment’ instead of always worrying about the next one. Any means of learning to rein in our thoughts to take control of them is a great beginning. The beginning of stress management, anger management, sleep, food and behavior management is every way you can imagine.
Mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. The benefits are endless and the practice is very easy to learn. It has only taken 40 years for the schools to catch up!
According to Psychology Today, Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. In other words, meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment. It certainly sounds like mindfulness, doesn’t it? Many people are turned off to the concept of meditation because they don’t know how and think its hard to learn. Its true that “Transcendental Meditation, or TM” is costly and challenging to learn but that is only one type of meditation and it is only as difficult as you believe it is to learn to meditate. Finding the right fit, whether its guided and visual or a focused state of chosen awareness, it is easy to do.
According to verywell.com, hypnosis is described as a sleep-like trance state, it is better expressed as a state characterized by focused attention, heightened suggestibility and vivid use of the imagination. People in a hypnotic state often seem sleepy and zoned out, but in reality they are in a state of hyper-awareness. Self hypnosis is often induced by mindfulness or another type of meditative state like daydreaming. Focusing on a specific visual or auditory experience can bring you into a state of self-hypnosis.
I hope it has become obvious that these techniques have more in common than they have differences. The difference hypnosis makes in that you use a coach, or hypnotist, for the guidance to reach a specific goal. The goals can be anything from weight management, sleep, eliminating bad habits, getting past negative thoughts from the past that you seem to still ‘focus’ on. What you focus on, you manifest.
The key word in all these modalities is focus. By learning how to use your mind in a focused way, you can accomplish almost anything. Stress is the result of focusing but on negative thoughts, feelings or memories that are already in the past. The gift in learning mindfulness in schools is that children begin to take responsibility for their thoughts that create their feelings and generate their behaviors.
Most of my clients come to me feeling ‘out of control.’ They are not out of control but they focus on that thought and feeling until it becomes apparent in their behavior.