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01-03-2011 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2011

Mindfulness 1/2011

Mindfulness: A Way of Cultivating Deep Respect for Emotions

Mindfulness > Uitgave 1/2011
Belinda Siew Luan Khong


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.

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