A recent survey found that only one in five people indicate they practice mindfulness and meditation on a consistent basis. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, the Program Specialist for nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies to discuss the importance of adopting these practices, especially during this pandemic.
Al: What exactly is mindfulness and meditation?
Mihaela: Excellent question! Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of the current moment, without any judgment. Meditation, on the other hand, is a practice where you use a technique such as mindfulness to train awareness and attention, with the goal of establishing a calm and stable state.
Al: I am sure that a calm and stable state appeals to many individuals during this frantic time! With that being said, does mindfulness and meditation have any advantages for our health?
Mihaela: Yes, the American Psychological Association has identified that mindfulness and meditation can reduce rumination and stress, as well as improve our working memories and focus. Our bodies and minds have the opportunity to rest and recover when we engage in mindfulness and meditation and these practices can even help us feel more satisfied in our relationships and make us less emotionally reactive!
Al: It sounds like they have some therapeutic benefits, especially during this chaotic time. How can people adopt these practices?
Mihaela: Mindfulness and meditation can happen anywhere. They do not require any equipment and are always available to us. We can practice through body scans or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and tune into the present when we are doing an activity.
Al: Is there any specific activity that people can engage in?
Mihaela: Yes. An example that comes to mind is the Candle Study Exercise. In this exercise, you light a candle, sit comfortably, and watch the flame flicker while you observe your thoughts, without any judgement. It is lockdown appropriate as you can do it within the comfort of your home! Just remember, there are many different types of activities to help you achieve inner peace, so make sure that you pick one that truly resonates with you.
Al: That sounds soothing! Where can individuals go to learn more about getting started?
Mihaela: The Mayo Clinic has lots of information to guide you. There are also different apps such as Insight Timer and Headspace, which are free and easy to use!
Al: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the public?
Mihaela: If you find yourself feeling distressed in a way that is interfering with your everyday life, help is out there. Check out our mental health guide for available resources at transamericacenterforhealthstudies.org. Follow us on twitter and facebook!
Al: Thank you again for joining us, speaker. This has been another episode of ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth. I’m your host Al Waller – thanks for listening.