Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

What is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn , " mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose , in the present moment , and non judgmentally ."

Cognitive therapy : a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Put the two together....and you get:

A Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Approach
For working with unhelpful thoughts
1, Slow down……pause. Take three slow deep breaths, letting your belly rise and fall with your breathing.
2. As best you can, invite a kind witnessing awareness for yourself.
3. Notice your thoughts, notice how you are talking to yourself, what stories you are telling yourself.  You may need to “turn up the volume” and articulate more clearly, if self talk is in background and vague, you can invite it forward with acceptance and an interested curiosity.

4. Identify unhelpful thoughts and notice how they make you feel.
5. Release (as best you can) unhelpful thoughts
6. Create new helpful messages and try saying them to yourself
and notice how they make you feel. Revise as needed.


Remember, when you change thought habits, you are actually creating new neural pathways.  It takes a while, but then it gets easier!  Don't give up too soon!


At the end of a stressful day at work, I am exhausted and feeling self-critical. I notice the following self talk:
I really screwed up today. Why did I make such a stupid mistake?  My boss thinks I’m such a loser.  I’m in over my head with this project. What if I lose this job?  Maybe I’m in the wrong field.
I notice increasing tension in my body and anxiety building.)
~Pausing ~  Witnessing ~ Breathing ~ Accessing Kindness ~
Alternative self-talk:
OK, I’m noticing that this kind of thinking is making me feel worse.  I can choose to be kind to myself.  Everyone makes mistakes.  I’ll get through this by being on my own side no matter what.
I notice a softening in my body and a little release of tension.)

You may be able to benefit from these ideas and tools on your own, but many people need help to change habits of thinking, believing and acting that have become very entrenched.


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