Mindfulness for parents and/or caregivers.. series of techniques based on different meditation approaches, which have now been incorporated into psychotherapy processes

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is full attention and awareness.
It is the English translation of the concept 'Pali', which means awareness, attention and recollection.
It is a series of techniques based on different meditation approaches, which have now been incorporated into psychotherapy processes.

In addition, it can refer to three elements: a construct, a practice and a psychological process.
As a construct, it is related to different definitions, all oriented to the experience of the present with acceptance and avoiding judgment.

focusing on behavior and feelings:

As a practice, it is intended that both therapists and patients identify their thoughts and emotions and, as a psychological process, it involves focusing on behavior and feelings, with the aim of generating awareness regarding the body and the surrounding world.

It has been empirically shown that mindfulness has a close relationship with certain psychological processes, such as perceptual sensitivity, relaxation, metacognition, emotional regulation, self-observation, and exposure to emotional distress.

This, considering that mindfulness practitioners better detect certain environmental stimuli, as well as greater ease in inducing relaxation, acceptance of unpleasant experiences, observation of thoughts and images that arise constantly through a state of calm, permanent contact with the way of thinking (metacognition) without making judgments and a considerable emotional regulation that allows reducing the little involvement with emotions so that the situations experienced are adaptive and functional in the life of the individual and,voluntary exposure to discomfort, which implies getting involved and identifying the source of pain.

benefits of mindfulness:

The mindfulness technique has been taking great force in the psychological field and in mental health, considering the benefits that have been observed in problems such as anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, psychosis, chronic pain, among others. others.

This has had important results at the clinical level, as it has become a different way of responding to certain situations, where attention and acceptance prevail (Flores, Coffin, Jiménez & Miralrio, 2018).

Mindfulness, as a practice, has short- and long-term benefits, some of which are: a) Improvement in attention levels, b) Greater emotional control and c) Changes and modifications of self-awareness, which implies less self-processing. referential, greater contact with the body and equanimity (Tang, Hölzel and Posner, as cited in Hervás, Cebolla & Soler, 2016)

mindfulness exercises:

According to Hervás, Cebolla & Soler (2016), mindfulness exercises are divided into two:
- Focusing attention on an object, such as the breath, or a candle.

controlled breathing:

It is a procedure that allows to reduce the physiological activity caused by anxiety. It is about breathing slowly, using the diaphragm. The following steps are followed:
  • Be in the proper posture, it can be sitting, lying down or standing.
  • Place one hand on the abdomen area, placing the little finger above the navel.
  • Breathe in such a way that the abdomen rises with each inhalation and returns to its original position with each exhalation. The idea is to get air into the lungs, not to take in a lot of air. Using a book on the abdomen can be helpful.
  • Inhale through the nose for 3 seconds using the diaphragm, exhale in 3 seconds and pause holding the air with empty lungs before inhaling again. It is advisable to think of the word 'calm' or 'quiet' with each exhalation. This procedure can be used both in controlled situations, such as at home or in high-stress circumstances.
  • Contact with the present situation without directing attention to a particular object. Meditation is included here.

Here and now meditation:

  • It can be done at home or in the baby's care in the Intensive Care Unit. This exercise takes between 8-10 minutes. Next, the procedure proposed by Simón (2011) to carry out this exercise is presented:
  • Get into the right posture. Preferably sitting or lying down and with your eyes closed.
  • Focus on all parts of the body to eliminate the tension that is in the different muscles of the face, neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, etc. Try to make these disappear.
  • Breathe regularly, without effort or major changes, simply in a state of relaxation and tranquility.
  • Mentally locate yourself in the present place and time, ordering your consciousness to focus solely on the here and now, leaving aside the past and the future.
  • Focus on events in the present, such as sounds, lights, voices, body sensations, body posture, heart rate, breathing, etc.
  • Appreciate the passage of time in the present moment and the tranquility that this generates, because fear and expectations disappear.
  • Recover contact with external reality, without haste. Open your eyes and have a relationship again with the normal activities of daily life.