Mindfulness, Meditation and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
Research has shown that “Mindfulness-based interventions” can be an important adjunct to traditional clinical interventions in clinical and educational contexts. Mindfulness is not new and it is not exclusive to ACT or RFT based interventions. Rather, mindfulness practices have been an important part of religious and spiritual tradition for hundreds of years. However, in the last number of years, mindfulness has also become really popular for its benefits in many areas of psychological distress but also in the promotion of fostering well-being and strong mental health more generally.
There are lots of different definitions of mindfulness and some consider mindfulness and meditation to be the same thing, whereas others have clear distinctions between the two. For our purposes, we don’t think it’s necessary to decide which definition is necessarily better than others. Just as in all areas of science and medicine, we are learning new things and growing and changing all of the time as new evidence emerges. For the sake of simplicity, we really like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness and that is the one we will use here.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (2017) describes mindfulness meditation as the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally. This definition is very consistent with what we are trying to achieve with both our Relational Frame Theory-based cognitive skills training programmes on this website, (because of course, paying attention is an important component of being able to learn well) and our Acceptance and Commitment Therpay (ACT) based mental health and well-being programmes. Rather than viewing these are disparate areas, we would conceptualise being mindful and paying attention as necessary for being able to make wise decisions in all areas of our lives.
Below you will find lots of different guided mindfulness exercises, pieces and these will be updated often. The first, is a general introduction to mindfulness practice and it outlines some common types of mindful meditations and general information around mindfulness. These initial practices are intended for all ages and are quite broad in their focus so that they will serve as a nice springboard for people to begin to see what types of mindfulness practice might be the most beneficial for them.
We think that using the RaiseYourIQ mindfulness tools will greatly supplement the FAST (cognitive defusion) training for cognitive and emotional flexibility. We also know that modern science is seeing, more and more, that being mindful also helps people to make better decisions in all areas of learning. As such, we think that using our mindfulness practices will also enhance your ability to do our SMART training, which is our flagship tool for cognitive enhancement.Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
As we at RaiseYourIQ are strong believers in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach (which now has over 400 published randomised control trials showing that it is effective as a psychotherapeutic treatment for a whole host of psychological difficulties), we will also include some of the more common ACT practices and metaphors that you will come across within the ACT literature. We will offer some of our favourite practices for each of the ACT processes. We will also include a few brief discussions on what some of these processes are. We provide a range of practices for all ages,with some practices designed specifically for children and some tailored for adolescents and adults. Finally, we have included some personal practices that we have gathered up by listening to our friends, who are not only clinicians and academics, but persons for whom mindfulness is not just a part of the psychological treatments they deliver at work, but part of who they are as human beings living ordinary lives.
You will see (including the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science ACBS website https://contextualscience.org) that ACT has had success with treating difficulties that are typically quite treatment resistant and ACT is now recognised by the American Psychological Association as a gold standard treatment for coping with chronic pain. ACT is also being used for treating refractory OCD at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital for inpatient pediatric sufferers (https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/McLean-OCD-Institute-for-Children-and-Adolescents-UPDATED.pdf). ACT has also been shown to be effective for a whole range of other difficulties, for example workplace stress, test anxiety, social anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis. It has also been used to help treat medical conditions such as chronic pain,substance abuse,and diabetes (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy).