Tag: mindfulness

Where to Point the Finger?

by Nick O. Rowe, CSW

 

We have all been there right, “I reacted that way because she would not stop nagging me”. “He makes me so angry!” I am the only one that is making any effort around here!” These are common phrases that, at the root, are anchored in blame. It is fascinating that so many are willing to relinquish their ability to control their own words and behavior. Nobody can make you say or do anything and believing this erroneous idea is the breeding ground for anger and frustration. How often we try to control our spouse, partner or situation only to find that we have made it worse. How comforting it is to know that we have the ability to change our outlook by looking inward instead of outward.

The Blame Game

Blame is often a major factor in marital discord and is also used to satisfy the human need for an explanation of unwanted events or the cause of choosing action or inaction. For example, I may blame the school board for being bias as the reason I did not receive the acceptance letter. A mother experiencing a miscarriage may find herself looking to God as to why He would allow something so terrible to happen. One might blame an illness or disability as the reason for lack of success or happiness in life.

Human nature is to placate and pacify the underlying issue which at the core is pain. In almost all cases ranging from argument, tragedy or disappointments, blame can be linked to the desire to dull the hurt, looking at someone else instead of being vulnerable to feelings. As the old Native American Saying goes: “Every time you point a finger in scorn there are three remaining fingers pointing right back at you.”

When we feel that discomfort and we desire to point the finger can I suggest a healthy alternative by first taking a moment to ground yourself in the present? This may require practices of mindfulness, meditation or simply removing yourself from the situation so you can be alone with your thoughts. Once in that place, I and almost all my clients have found it helpful to ask one simple question. “Are the things I am saying and doing going to get me what I actually want?” Winning an argument at times may feel satisfying but in reality will always be a loss. This is easier said than done and will require practice and humility.

Let us now take that question a step deeper by calling it to action. “What can I say, do, or think to get me what I actually want?” You are in the driver seat at this point and in control of the outcome. Imagine if couples were willing to commit to this mindset together. There would be no breeding ground for resentment. There would be no harsh words said because the end result would not give them what they want.

May you experiment upon this suggestion and find the power and peace that comes when accountability replaces blame and thoughtful mediation allows you to ask the question to give you the freedom you seek and deserve. Let blame be a thing of the past and live a life that is full and within your control.

 

Call today to schedule and appointment with Nick at 801.272.3420

What is Mindfulness?

By Kayla Burningham, AMFT

Mindfulness has become a popular term lately. It is also a very common intervention used in therapy for a variety of presenting problems. In 2010 an analysis of all previous studies of the effects mindfulness on anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders was conducted. The results? Mindfulness significantly decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. While that is great news, what clients really want is an intervention that will help them in the long run–that will help create lasting change and lead to healing. With that in mind, what else did this analysis find? At follow-up appointments clients still reported significant decreases in symptoms! Mindfulness can be a powerful intervention in the treatment of mood disorders. Here are some other great benefits studies have attributed to mindfulness:

  • Improve well-being
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Increase focus and attention
  • Boost immune systems

Wow! Three cheers for mindfulness!

So, what is mindfulness? Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

In therapy, your therapist will guide you in becoming aware of your thoughts and encourage you to stay in the present moment. When thoughts drift, the therapist will gently pull you back to the present to an observable state. For example, focusing on your thoughts as if they are clouds slowly moving by in the sky. Eventually mindfulness allows a client to observe their thoughts without reacting to them or judging themselves. This ability to be aware of what we are thinking without reacting puts us back in the driver seat in our own lives and allows us to make more educated decisions about what actions to take, what behaviors to change, and, perhaps most importantly, what to let go.

Mindfulness can be incorporated in couple or family therapy as well. I have oftentimes used it in my own practice to help family members take a deep breath, reach a state of calm, observe their thoughts, and mindfully practice what they want to say. This helps clients to then communicate with their loved ones more effectively.

All this goes to say that mindfulness has broad applications. A skilled therapist can utilize mindfulness in a variety of ways to assist clients in understanding their thoughts, emotions, and the physical sensations associated with those emotions. When mindfulness is regularly used and practiced, it has the potential to create lasting change, boost the healing process, and help a client lead a proactive life.

Sources:

Hofman, S.G., Sawyer, A.T., Witt, A.A., & Oh, D.The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. 2010. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 78(2).

http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/mindfulness-based-interventions#Techniques

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness


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Kayla is a Licensed Therapist 
working with individuals,
families, couples, as well as groups.