Mindfulness and Letting Go of Negativity
By Albert Grabb, MD, Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Mindfulness is an increasingly popular concept that usually refers to a
variety of contemplative practices, states of mind or even inherent qualities
in a person. Despite its increasing widespread use, there is no scientific
consensus around a definition and even within the contemplative traditions
from which it originates (Buddhism), there is no agreed upon definition.
Mindfulness encompasses a broad range of practices, but is usually associated
with meditation. While there are large number of meditation practices,
those usually associated with mindfulness usually are directed toward
bringing attention to present moment experience such as the felt sense
of the breath. Any and all sensations, sounds, sights and even thoughts
or images can be used as a single object of meditation or as a series
of objects as they present themselves.
In general, mindfulness is not geared toward bringing about any specific
outcome. Practicing mindfulness can bring about a change in our perspective
or relationship to thoughts or feelings. We learn to identify less and
less with them and that brings about a certain degree of freedom to respond
more thoughtfully and in a less reactive manner. Over time, the practice
can help to cultivate more positive thoughts which may replace some of
the negative thinking.