Mindfulness Practice: Simple But Not Easy

June 11, 2020

In this video, Neda F. Gould, PhD, discusses her work in mindfulness for patients as well as faculty. She describes what mindfulness is and how it can be useful for stress management, and she will walk through a practice session.

MINDFULNESS MOMENTS

In this video, Neda F. Gould, PhD, Associate Director of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Anxiety Disorders Clinic, and Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, discusses her work in mindfulness for patients as well as faculty. She describes what mindfulness is and how it can be useful for stress management, and she will walk through a practice session.

Mindfulness is a tool that I found really helpful in managing stress in my own life and so I found that it was a gift that was given to me that I like to share with other people. Mindfulness is basically bringing your attention to the present moment. Much of our time is about the past and thinking about the future, and that can contribute to our distress. Our minds often latch on to worst case scenarios and catastrophes, and we really miss out on the present moment. Mindfulness is a way to build resilience.

During stressful times, it is a muscle we need to build and so there are a couple of ways to build that muscle of being in the present moment. One is informal meditation or mindfulness practice and the other is formal. The formal practice will be the meditation I'll guide you through in this video. But informally at any point during the day, pause and bring attention back to the present moment. That can help us build that muscle of being present more often.

It turns out that if we can do that repeatedly over time, we are happier if we are in the present moment, and we're actually more productive. By focusing on the present moment, we can lower our stress and anxiety. Informally you can pause at any point during the day and just take a breath. That simple practice can turn off the stress response and start to turn on the relaxation.

As soon as you can bring your attention to the sensations in the body, you can separate or get a little bit of space from the narrative of the mind, and that helps us relax as well as our bodies always in the present moment. Our mind is rarely in the present. So I'd like to spend just a couple of minutes walking you through a meditation practice, you can certainly use apps or whatever you'd like to continue this if you find it useful.