Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditative practices, and is used today completely non-religiously. Being mindful involves letting go of challenging issues of the future and the past to allow oneself to be in the moment. Those teaching mindfulness techniques highlight the importance of the individual giving full attention to each movement and action.
Mindful living may be able to help with those with behavioural issues. It has been discovered that these powerful behavioural patterns can be altered or aided through the use of mindfulness techniques. This identification then provides the individual with the opportunity to positively alter behaviour over the long term without the use of pharmaceutical intervention.
Mindfulness techniques are used throughout the world through various organisations to treat habitual behaviour with great success. The most well-known of these organisations is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme developed by John Kabat-Zinn in the United States.
Furthermore, in Britain a survey conducted in 2009 by ICM revealed that just under three quarters of General Practitioners (GPs) believe mindfulness meditation would be useful for those who live with mental health challenges such as addiction, amongst many others.
As identified by Hoppes in 2006, during the early stages of change, mindfulness is a valuable tool in positively modifying and monitoring behaviour on a daily basis to reduce the relapse in behavioural patterns. Research which is supported by Appel and Appel through their study in 2009, mindfulness is used in Western medicine to improve relapses in behaviour.
Rogojanski and associates in their 2010 study showed how the challenges associated with suppressing behavioural issues, such as cravings and temptations, were significantly reduced when an element of mindful awareness was incorporated. Portraying once again the benefits of mindfulness is making lasting progressive and affirmative changes in lifestyle which may have endured behavioural patterns.
This is supported by research conducted by the University of Washington which revealed that after 12 months of treatment in mindfulness, only nine percent of the group reported using the substances they sought to control, which is a significant decrease in relapse compared to average sixteen percent that pursued a more traditional suppression based support for behaviour.
The increasing recognition and employment of mindfulness techniques to alleviate behavioural issues, demonstrates how students are able to take control of their own behaviours and actions without medicinal input, through this long term mind training. Supported by various health organisations, mindfulness techniques could be the new procedure forward in dealing with addictive behaviours in a productive and gentle way.
Even more than this, mindfulness techniques can be employed to cultivate productive habits, such as conscientious eating and bringing awareness to one’s general health. So while mindfulness is successful in curbing addictive behaviours, it is also successful in developing productive habits.
The onus is on the individual to maintain a practice in mindfulness to see improvements in health, wellbeing and behavioural patterns over the long term. The success of organisations around the world in employing mindfulness to modify behaviours is proof that the individuals have within themselves the capability to make powerful and productive changes in their lives without any medicinal help or long-term third party input.
What other areas of your life could you be enhanced using mindfulness?