You may have heard the term “mindfulness” thrown around, but what exactly is it and how can it help during times of crisis? Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” In short, to be mindful is to be purposeful about where you direct your attention. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild, you take a step back and become intentional about where you put your focus.
We are all dealing with different stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, work responsibilities are greater right now and it’s difficult to juggle professional and personal duties. For others, work has slowed down or stopped and the anxiety of remaining productive and dealing with uncertainty can feel paralyzing. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so by practicing mindfulness, you’re reducing your background level of stress. And who doesn’t need a little of that right now?
Here a few of the benefits of practicing mindfulness:
Physical and Emotional Health: According to research, practicing mindfulness regularly can help manage anxiety. It also complements medical and psychological treatments and can help reduce pain and symptoms of conditions such as depression, high blood pressure and addiction.
Emotional and Cognitive Regulation: A regular mindfulness practice has been shown to increase focus and help with memory and problem-solving abilities. It can also improve the brain’s capacity for decision-making.
Happiness and Joy: By practicing mindfulness, you’ll find it easier to take a few deep breaths and respond in a more patient and thoughtful way to a challenging person or situation. You’ll begin to slow down during particularly challenging parts of your day and not react to a problem hastily. That enables you to more easily tune in to pleasant experiences that are around you, even during times of stress.
Mindfulness takes practice, but the effort is well worth the reward! Leah M Joppy and Associates has been conducting webinars focusing on strategies we can all use to get through these challenging times. We can tailor a webinar that focuses on mindfulness practices, stress reduction and more. How can we help you? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email email@example.com to learn more.