Monday, January 7, 2019

Now, Relax; Chill Out. Every Little Thing Is Going to be Alright Because You Are Showing Mindfulness

Act less like a baby through mindfulness best practices. Archive photo.

BY VW

STRESS
has becomes a way of life, hasn't it.

Your normal operating procedure is to thoughtlessly react (and possibly overreact) to practically everything? You can learn how to slow down your mind and emotions so that you can have calm, rational responses to various stimuli. And less stress.

One way is through mindfulness. Ultimately, it is the process of remaining in any moment and focusing on what is happening without making instant judgments or drawing premature conclusions.

It is a subject that Timothy Riley knows a thing or two about. “Being aware of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions – both pleasant and unpleasant – can help us choose how to respond, rather than simply react,” asserts the assistant professor and associate vice chair for wellness in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State Health in Hershey, PA.

Timothy Riley will have information to impart about mindfulness in the coming weeks. Photo courtesy of Penn State Health (PSH).

Commencing tonight (7 Jan) with orientation at the University Fitness Center, TR will be teaching an eight-week course titled Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Orientation continues on 21 Jan. The course is open to Penn State Health employees and the general public. If you can't make it, keep an eye open for course highlights. The mindfulness course is a feature of the Medical Minute series at PSH.

Mindfulness can and should be practiced in the most common circumstances. Take the desire for a sweet, for instance, TR says. “You walk by Starbucks, see a cookie and you have an emotional response. You want the cookie. Then may come guilt for wanting a cookie.”

Exhibiting mindfulness, you would note both your reaction to the cookie and the resultant guilt for wanting it. You give in to both emotions without beating yourself up. Imagine simply meditating on them both.

“It puts you in this observer stance where we can witness what is happening without getting wrapped up in it,” TR says. “It gives you a bit of space.”

Mindfulness thinking can help us feel better and promote general good health. It can also help us act our age rather than our shoe size. Engaging in it enhances activity in the part of the brain that controls emotions.

Mindfulness thinking promotes overall good health. Archive image.

In other words, fewer adult temper tantrums. “The more we practice mindfulness, the more we are flexing this muscle of emotional regulation,” TR says. “When automatic emotions come up, we can choose whether or not to engage them.”

What a relief, no?

To register and/or learn more about Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, email mindfulness@pennstatehalth.psu.edu

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