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Mindfulness Techniques Can Counter Stress in Clients

Posted: October 24, 2011

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However it is practiced, mindfulness is a powerful therapeutic tool. Studies have found, for example, that mindfulness techniques can help prevent relapse in people who have had several past episodes of major depression. Other research suggests that mindfulness techniques can help alleviate anxiety and reduce physical symptoms, such as pain or hot flashes.

For more information about the health dangers of stress — and how mindfulness can help people relax — watch this video of a talk by Dr. Michael C. Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, at www.health.harvard.edu/MillerStress.

One of the best things about mindfulness is that it is something people can try on their own. Here's how to suggest that your clients get started.

Center down. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.

Open up. Once you've narrowed your concentration, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations and ideas. Embrace and consider each without judgment. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing.