Coping with Our Suffering: Grounded Mindfulness
Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. offers counseling and therapy in Reston, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland.
Mindfulness can be defined as a quality or a skill of mind and heart characterized by an open, compassionate and non-judgmental attitude to the contemplation of reality. Practicing mindfulness has been shown in research studies to have positive effects in coping with stress, illness, negative emotions, etc.
In my individual counseling practice in Reston, Washington DC, and Bethesda, I use a form of mindfulness that I call grounded mindfulness; I focus on the body as a source of stability and strength in mindfully exploring life’s problems. In my professional practice, I have found grounded mindfulness to be highly beneficial in dealing with “suffering” or the painful response to a condition, an illness or a problem. The practice of mindfulness helps one to step back and contemplate problems using a wider lens. By taking a broader perspective in assessing a problem as it really is – versus how one wants it to be – we can change our relationship to the problem. Often when we feel bad about something we are experiencing (an emotion, a pain, etc.), we resist it, reject it, or hate it; this type of relationship to our suffering can create an additional layer of pain and suffering. If we instead embrace, learn, attend, and be with it as it is, rather than as it should be or not be, then the experience and relationship to the problem changes; this is sometimes called the paradoxical idea of change which can actually reduce our suffering.
In my therapy practice in Reston, Bethesda, and Washington DC, I use mindfulness in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy and other complementary medicine approaches in dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, chronic illness and pain, trauma, and other issues.