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Reducing Stress Through Mindfulness

January 21, 2022

REDUCING STRESS THROUGH MINDFULNESS:
It's OK to just relax and exist

Charlotte D. Maiden, MSN, RN, CPAN, CAPA
Outpatient Surgery/Post-Anesthesia Care Unit/Pre-Admission Testing

As a result of the COVID pandemic, we all have had to adjust our way of life. We are seeing those in healthcare exhausted and overworked while trying to divide time between family and work, but even in the face of fear and anxiety, their resilience has shown a strong sense of community.

In an article, in Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (2020), our cultural structure has been uncompromisingly challenged by mounting family responsibilities, changing family dynamics, and financial uncertainties.

The practice of mindfulness is a method of stress relief that supports healthcare providers, patients, care givers, and the general public. In an article from The Psych Professionals (2019), mindfulness is defined as "moment to moment awareness…being here for the moments of our lives". This means we should live in the 'now' and allow negative thoughts to leave our minds as quickly as they came in.

We spend a large portion of our lives on auto pilot missing the sights, sounds, smells and joys we should appreciate. Mindfulness involves breathing techniques, guided imagery, ways to relax the body, and mind-reducing stress. Time devoted to making plans, solving problems, or negative thinking increases stress, anxiety and depression. By utilizing mindfulness practices, your attention is focused on engaging with the world around you and away from negative thinking.

Simple ways to practice mindfulness:

  • Pay attention—Take the time to experience life with your sense of touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. When eating a favorite food for example, take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it.
  • Live in the moment—Find joy in simple pleasures.
  • Accept yourself—Treat yourself the way you would behave toward a good friend.
  • Stop and take a breath—When negative thoughts come into your mind, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Have your focus be on your breathing as air moves in and out of your body—even just one minute can help.

COVID has shown us that change is the only constant. Mindfulness can offer a way to live with this constant change and realize that you do not have to be doing something every moment of the day…it's okay to just relax and exist.

The Soul Usually Knows What to Do to Heal Itself. THE CHALLENGE IS TO SILENCE THE MIND.

--Caroline Myss