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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Today we’re talking about mindfulness strategies to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Nurses Week is from May 6th through May 12th. Our immense gratitude goes out to all nurses and other healthcare workers who’ve been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week we’ll be dedicating our mindfulness and meditation practice to nurses everywhere. You are the backbone of our health system, and we’re so grateful for you.
If you’d prefer to skip ahead to this week’s meditation, start this video at 13:44.
“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.”
Part one: breath
We always have our breath.
Using the breath, introspection, and meditation, we can enhance our ability to respond to life rather than react.
Fight or flight: it’s a natural and human tendency to look for danger. Our brains are wired to search for threats.
When your stress level increases, pay attention to things you have control over in this moment, like your breath.
Part two: gratitude
One way to shift negative feelings is with a simple gratitude practice.
The good news is that you can’t experience fear and gratitude simultaneously; they’re triggered from different parts of the brain. Gratitude happens in your reward center (dopamine center) and fear happens in your danger center (amygdala). Therefore, gratitude is both motivating and rewarding.
“Expand your tolerance for positive influences and help.”
Use your breath: respond rather than react. Take one moment at a time and breathe.
Approach fear and anxiety with compassion.
Practice looking for moments of joy, kindness, and love.
Expect that positive influences and help will come your way.
Reach out. If someone you know is in distress, listen, don’t try to fix.
Practice gratitude. Find three points of gratitude throughout your day. Speak them out loud and/or write them down. Practice introspection, breathing, and meditating.
“Just listen. Most people just want to be heard.”
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