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.