Mindfulness is the very human experience of being present and living in the moment. This is in contrast to constantly worrying about the past or what will happen in the future – both of which are common in people experiencing emotional distress. This can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including guided visualizations, meditation, breathing exercises, grounding, and even just sitting with one’s thoughts.

As a therapeutic technique, mindfulness is often associated with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This is because the core goal of DBT is always to improve mindfulness and help people stay “in the moment” and able to cope with their thoughts and feelings. For this reason, many therapists combine DBT and generalized mindfulness practices in the same session or treatment plan. Others may add mindfulness exercises onto other approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Or, mindfulness exercises may become a core facet of treatment.

Depending on the exercise or approach used, it can help you reduce racing thoughts, ease anxiety, level out mood, or even just cope better with particularly intense thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Research shows it is especially helpful for people with certain diagnoses, including Borderline Personality Disorder (BDP), PTSD, C-PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).