Turning Mindfulness Inwards

Mindfulness practice generally focuses on the world around us – but did you know that turning mindfulness inwards can have great benefits also, such as a greater understanding of the self?

mindfulness turned inwards

This is because mindfulness teaches us to focus on the present moment with openness, flexibility and curiosity, and without judgement – whether the focus be the environment around us, or on the self.

Research has proven that mindfulness has both physical and psychological benefits, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness techniques are even being taught in our schools, so that the next generation may reap the benefits fully!

Learning to Focus

For the most part, mindfulness turns our attention to the around us – the environment, what we see, hear and feel – helping us to take our focus off anxiety, pain and worries, and instead calming our bodies and minds.

A less talked about form of mindfulness however, is turning it inwards to gain a better understanding of the self. How well do you know how you feel? Can you describe the physical sensation of emotions such as sadness, anger and love? Do you notice all the physical symptoms of anxiety in your body such as tightness in the chest and back, or weakness and numbing?

To really get in touch with your body and the emotional self, turning mindfulness inwards can be a helpful skill. When being mindful of the self we are banishing experiential avoidance – avoidance of internal experiences such as thoughts, feelings and sensations. Experiential avoidance has been linked with many mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression.

Learning to Turn Mindfulness Inwards

One way to practice inwards mindfulness is to do a task called the body scan.

The body scan is a 10-20 minute exercise focused entirely on sensations within the body, working from the toes up to the head. If you wish to complete this exercise you can make an appointment with a professional with experience in mindfulness training to lead you through it, or there are some guided mindful meditations available online and through apps.

Another practice is mindfulness of emotions and exploring your emotions via Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP). ISTDP is focused on the emotional experience and understanding the self, and the unconscious defences we have developed to detach from emotions and reduce anxiety from unresolved emotional experiences.

If you would like to know more about turning mindfulness inwards or outwards, to create calm in your bod and mind, please consider booking an appointment to see me. We can introduce you to exercises, to help you get in touch with your inner self, or work towards understanding and resolving internal emotional conflict through ISTPD.

Dr Rose Gillett clinical psychologistAuthor: Dr Rose Gillett, B Psych (Hons), D Psych (Clin), MAPS.

Rose Gillett is a clinical psychologist, working with children, adolescents, adults and couples. She is passionate about helping her clients achieve their goals, and has particular interest areas in attachment concerns in adults and young people, PTSD, and alcohol and drug addiction.

To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist, Rose Gillett, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.

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