The practice of mindfulness meditation in mental health treatment.

By Grace Farrar

Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice aimed to calm the body and mind through the combination of meditation alongside mindfulness – being focused in the ‘now’. We have witnessed an ongoing popularity in recent years which has incorporated the practice into mainstream western culture. This has generated an industry worth $1.21 billion in 2017 and a growth forecast of $2.08 billion by 2022, through promoting the benefits of such practice to enable for therapeutic growth and personal development in an everchanging modern world.

In recent years within the contexts of psychotherapy, mindfulness in particular has seen a significant recognition of its use and thus has become incorporated into practice as a form of systematic clinical intervention. Increased popularity has resulted in numerous sources vocalising the arguably undeniable benefits of the practices on the human body, both psychologically and physically, referencing improving emotional regulation, reducing stress levels and increasing present-moment awareness.

Although there is not a one fits all tactic when it comes to treatment of mental health, it appears that mindfulness meditation continues to becoming increasingly popular. However, weve all heard the phrase too much of a good thing and similar attitudes have recently been associated with mindfulness with certain sources claiming that for some, mindfulness meditation can actually do more harm than good. These discussions have focused on the lack of in-depth research into the practice of mindfulness meditation and the somewhat dismissal of its ability to cause some individuals to suffer moderate to serious adverse effects. Additionally, some studies have concluded that for specific individuals diagnosed with a mental health issue, such as those suffering from PTSD, mindfulness meditation could be considered too difficult as it may cause for re-experiencing traumatic memories.

These combined findings are neither for or against the practice of mindfulness meditation, but instead indicatethat individuals need to take a more sceptical outlook when it comes to adapting the practice into their own mental health treatment.

Grace Farrar

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