Written by: Varleen Kaur
Edited by: Jacqueline Cheung
Dear CCP readers
Welcome back to the CCP blog! This week we are discussing mindfulness, a prominent topic at hot startups, well-known companies, and famous wellness blogs.
If you would like to learn more about the current state of homelessness in Canada and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), welcome! We have many blogs on this; check out our website. If you are returning for more information about the challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and those with animal companions, welcome back! If you are new to our blog, welcome to the community and thank you for your interest in learning more about issues regarding the homelessness crisis in Canada and beyond - you are one step closer to becoming a changemaker in your community, and you are in great company.
In the past year, 42% of millennials have meditated at least once, and the market for meditation is close to $1 billion. What makes it so popular, then? According to the American Psychological Association report, “While Millennials (ages 18 to 33) and Gen Xers (ages 34 to 47) report the highest average stress levels, Boomers (48 to 66) and Matures (67 years and older) join them in reporting levels that are higher than they consider healthy”.
What is the mindful definition of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the essential human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s happening around us.
How does mindfulness help?
Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) like mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are beneficial in addressing a wide range of outcomes across varied demographics, according to recent analyses of well-designed, randomized controlled studies that compared mindfulness treatments to active control conditions. These outcomes include medical and well-being outcomes like chronic pain, quality of life, psychological or emotional distress, and clinical disorders and symptoms, including anxiety, risk of relapse for depression, present depressive symptoms, and stress. MBIs have also been demonstrated to function by altering particular psychopathology-related traits, such as cognitive biases, affective dysregulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
According to a study of 68 000 registered nurses, 35% of hospital nurses showed signs of burnout. This study examined the impact of a 4-hour workshop on burnout syndrome, perceived stress, and mindfulness skills. Participants completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory—Human Service Survey, Perceived Stress Scale, and Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale–Revised before the start of the workshop and 1 and 6 months after the workshop. In this study, nurses reported decreases in burnout and perceived stress and increases in mindfulness after attending a 4-hour mindfulness workshop.
Reduces your stress levels.
Promotes healthier eating habits.
Help achieve your goals.
Improves your productivity.
Make you more compassionate.
Lower your health bill.
Is mindfulness the same as meditation?
When the word mindfulness comes to mind, we often relate it to meditation. The terms mindfulness and meditation might overlap and share many similarities, but they are not precisely the same.
Mindfulness is essential to paying attention, noticing, and being present in your actions. When practicing mindfulness, you pay attention to the environment and your thoughts, feelings, actions, and effects on those around you.
This book chapter by Andrew Olendzki describes meditation as “The traditional sense of meditation in Western culture, before the significant encounter with Asian practices, involves sustained consideration or thought upon a subject. Originating from the Indo-European root √med, primarily meaning “to measure,” it suggests a discourse upon a subject (as in the title of Descartes’ famous work) or calms thought upon some subject (as with structured religious prayers). As such, it is always an exercise of ordered conceptual contemplation, involving the systematic and disciplined use of language, symbol, and concept.”
How to practice mindfulness?
There is no one method or any rules to practice mindfulness. We all possess the innate ability to be mindful. It is available to us every moment if we take the time to recognize it. When we practise mindfulness, we are mastering the art of giving ourselves room to breathe, think, and separate from our automatic emotions. However, getting into a daily meditation routine can be a struggle. Here are a few tips to help you in your mindfulness practice:
Take time to acknowledge how far you have come.
We often forget we live those days we used to dream about. We are always hustling for a better version of ourselves. Pausing and reflecting on your journey can be a good way to start mindfulness.
Develop a routine.
Decide on an uninterrupted time of day that you can set aside to practice mindfulness, and keep that time in your schedule, just like any other thing, mindfulness benefits from regular practice.
Body scan meditation
Legs extended, arms by your sides, palms up as you lay on your back. Slowly and methodically direct your attention to each area of your body, from toe to head or head to toe. Recognize any feelings, ideas, or sensations connected to each region of your body.
At CCP, we organize ‘Mindfulness & Art Workshop”s for youth under the age of 25 currently residing in shelters across Ontario. Research has shown the positive impact art and specifically, painting can have on lowering ones stress. This guided art workshop starts with 10 minutes of mindfulness at the very beginning. The guided painting offers youth the opportunity to get creative and focus on mindfulness in a calming and reflective environment. All of the supplies needed are provided in care kits for the specific workshop and age range.
“I loved the art workshop it was a very positive way to express myself through art. It was very helpful and very fun to do.” This is what one of our participants has to say.
If you want to organize a similar workshop or help us, check out our website.
Feel free to share what you want to know more about mindfulness or if you have any personal tips that have helped you in your mindfulness journey.
1- American Psychological Association. (2012, January 1). 2012 Stress by Generations.https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2012/generations
2- Hofmann SG, Gómez AF. Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Anxiety and Depression. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;40(4):739-749. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2017.08.008. Epub 2017 Sep 18. PMID: 29080597; PMCID: PMC5679245.
3- Sarazine, Julia DNP, APRN, FNP-BC; Heitschmidt, Mary PhD, APRN; Vondracek, Hugh MSc, ΦΒΚ; Sarris, Samantha MBA; Marcinkowski, Natalia RN; Kleinpell, Ruth PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN. Mindfulness Workshops Effects on Nurses' Burnout, Stress, and Mindfulness Skills. Holistic Nursing Practice 35(1):p 10-18, January/February 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000378
4- Olendzki, A. (2009). Mindfulness and Meditation. In: Didonna, F. (eds) Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-09593-6_3