If you are currently studying, volunteering, working, or looking for work, you may be exposed to stress. Exposure to stress can cause fatigue, forgetfulness, and overwhelm. Mindfulness can improve how you think and feel, directly impact your mood, help you recognize signs and symptoms of stress, and feel better. Mindfulness is a great tool for self-care.
What’s going on when a person is experiencing intense emotions? They might be flooded or overwhelmed, experiencing waves of distressing thoughts, or fixating on upsetting emotions. As a result, the body releases stress hormones and enters fight or flight mode. Overextended periods of time, this response can be quite damaging, but if you can begin to pay attention or notice your overwhelm, you can begin take better care of yourself!
Mindfulness, sometimes referred to as meditation, is the practice of exploration. Mindfulness is the ability to be present, and notice our experiences, feelings, and thoughts - without judgment. If we can be curious or mindful to sensations or emotions (instead of judgemental, which triggers negative stress responses), we can emerge with warmth and kindness, and a much more friendly environment for our brains and bodies.
Research shows that mindfulness helps regulate emotion and attention, reduces stress and anxiety, and enhances overall well-being. It decreases pain, fatigue, and depression, and boots-up the immune system and physical health. Over time, those who practice regularly will be able to regulate negative emotions in stressful times. MRI scans show amazing impacts on the brain.
Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways. Attend mindfulness group sessions at SFU, or check out SFU’s Health and Counselling Services for self-guided recordings, videos, and apps.
Tending to your wellness may feel like a lot of work when you’re busy with work, papers and exams, but taking action towards your personal health can mitigate overwhelm and burnout. We’d love to hear how it works for you!
In loving kindness,
Haebin, Deanne, and the CVS team. With thanks to Sarah Parkes, and Beth Triano at SFU Health and Counselling.
Beyond the Blog
Check out the Career and Volunteer Services' Sarah Parkes series, Thriving in Challenging Times!