Mindfulness

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 27–32 | Cite as

Mindfulness: A Way of Cultivating Deep Respect for Emotions

Original Paper

Abstract

The practice of mindfulness affords individuals a way of cultivating deep respect for, rather than avoiding, emotions. Cultivating a deep respect for emotions means appreciating and honoring what is unfolding moment by moment. When one nourishes whatever emotion arises, one greets it as an honored guest with an important message to deliver, rather than an enemy to contend with. In embracing and befriending whatever arises, mindfulness makes it possible for the individual to savor and realize more refined emotions. A case study—Katy’s experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—is discussed to demonstrate how mindfulness enabled her to develop deep respect for the range of emotions she experienced as a result of her trauma and to make space for them. Specific mindfulness practices and other complementary psychological approaches adapted to her concerns helped her “override” her body memory, an important feature of PTSD, of the experience. The processes involved in the mindfulness practice enabled Katy to understand her motivations for her actions and fully realize her more refined emotions of compassion and sense of responsibility. Incorporating mindfulness in her treatment plan helped Katy cope with PTSD more effectively while she also acquired a life skill beyond learning to cope with the trauma.

Keywords

Mindfulness Emotions Post-traumatic stress disorder Deep respect Honored guest 

References

  1. Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., et al. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dimeff, L., & Linehan, M. M. (2001). Dialectical behavior therapy in a nutshell. The California Psychologist, 34, 10–13.Google Scholar
  3. Ekman, P. (Ed.). (2008). Emotional awareness: A conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman. New York: Holt Paperback.Google Scholar
  4. Frija, N. H., & Sundararajan, L. (2007). Emotion refinement: A theory inspired by Chinese poetics. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 227–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gilmour, L., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Collins concise dictionary & thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  6. Gunaratana, H. (1991). Mindfulness in plain English. Singapore: The Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre.Google Scholar
  7. Hayes, S. C., & Smith, S. (2005). Get out of your mind and into your life. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.Google Scholar
  8. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1996). Full catastrophe living. London: Piatkus.Google Scholar
  9. Kabat- Zinn, J. Guided mindfulness meditation practice (CDs Series 2). Lexington, MA. USA. Stress Reduction CDs and Tapes. Available from http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/cds2lg.html. Accessesd 27 July 2010
  10. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005). Coming to our senses. New York: Hyperion.Google Scholar
  11. Kaplan, H. I., & Sadock, B. J. (1998). Synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (8th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  12. Khong, B. S. L. (2004). Minding the mind's business. The Humanistic Psychologist, 32, 257–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Khong, B. S. L. (2009). Expanding the understanding of mindfulness: Seeing the tree and the forest. The Humanistic Psychologist, 37, 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Khong, B. S. L., & Mruk, C. J. (2009). Editors' introduction to mindfulness in psychology. The Humanistic Psychologist, 37, 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Phillips, M. (2007). Giving the body its due: The use of somatic experiencing in body focused psychotherapy with trauma. Psychotherapy in Australia, 13(2), 12–21.Google Scholar
  16. Rumi, J. (1994). Say I am you. (J. Moyne & C. Barks, Trans.). Athens: Maypop.Google Scholar
  17. Segal, Z. V., William, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  18. Siegel, D. (2007). The Mindful Brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  19. Siegel, D. (2009). Mindful awareness, mindsight, and neural integration. The Humanistic Psychologist, 37, 137–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversityWahroongaAustralia

Personalised recommendations