Can developing a mindfulness practice help you become a better caregiver? Yes!
As a therapist, my clients who practiced these techniques reported a greater sense of calm and relaxation. With greater relaxation, problem solving, managing anxiety, and other stress related life and work challenges may not take as much energy – making you a better caregiver!
Mindfulness practice is keeping your thoughts on the moment, focused on present experience, and not flinging yourself forward into the unknown “what if” (worrying) or looking back with “If only” (guilt and regret). Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Mindfulness techniques have been practiced for centuries. Types of mindfulness practices include deep breathing, meditation, and guided imagery. Although these are different practices, they are often used interchangeably. These techniques have found new life in a stressed-out world of conflicting priorities. Increasing evidence shows these techniques help people manage stress and support health and well-being. There is also evidence that these practices, while not curing illness, do support medical treatment.
A guided imagery meditation led by Jon Kabit-Zinn:
Tools and information:
- VIDEO: An introductory lecture on mindfulness by one of the early leaders, Jon Kabit-Zinn.
- VIDEO: TED Talk on mindfulness by Andy Puddicombe
- List and description of free or low-cost smartphone apps providing mindfulness techniques. Healthline publishes annually and 2020 is the most recent: http://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/top-meditation-iphone-android-apps
- Simple techniques, in addition to seeing a doctor to focus on health and seeing a therapist, at the links below
- Sampling of the research
References: Zanda Hilger, LPC; Including information from Family Caregiver Alliance, Wellness Society, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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