Reflecting on the year as these last weeks of the calendar drift in, the old adage about living in “interesting times” feels like it has taken on new meaning. These days, we are living in “anxious and uncertain times.” Even as restrictions have relaxed, incidence of anxiety and depression haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Individually and collectively, we continue to grapple with what has been coined “pandemic flux syndrome,”- the mental and emotional highs and lows of coping with circumstances we can’t easily control or predict. And because emotions spread from person to person - a concept known as social contagion - it’s especially easy to catch the emotional colds and flu of those around us.
Without having some strategies to cultivate an inner sense of stability, we remain subject to life’s unpredictable twists and turns, worn out by the rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions that accompany them.
This month, we’d like to feature several of our courses that untangle the roots of anxiety. While mindfulness is not therapy or a magic wand that removes problems and challenges, our courses guide participants to learn and grow a deep well of science-driven tools and resources they can draw upon to support their well-being.
For example, in Your Stress Response
, we focus on how to recognize the body’s common responses to stress and zero in on your particular triggers. Rather than staying perpetually locked in feelings of overwhelm or unwittingly driven by our automatic flight, or freeze reactions, we introduce mindfulness-based strategies to manage stress with intentionality.
Compassion for Yourself
introduces the role of self-compassion in calming our stress response. Many of us are good at taking care of and supporting others, but in the face of our own difficulties and anxieties, it can be hard to remember that we are not alone, that we're doing our best, and that we are loved. In this session we introduce how to shift our internal dialogue and acquire strategies to cultivate an inner ally as a source of comfort and strength.
In Approaching the Difficult
, we examine how the tools of mindful awareness can help us increase and access a sense of resilience amidst life’s adversities. Using the acronym and practice of ACE, we will experience how to approach challenging emotions with Awareness, Compassion, and a willingness to Explore.
Finally, in Emotions and the Body
, we explore an often overlooked key to navigating the felt sense of challenging emotions. Through practices like Progressive Relaxation, Identifying Your Stress Profile, and the Body Scan, we learn to tune into the felt sense of the body to understand its cues. By the end of the session, participants will have acquired the tools to notice emotions as they arise and name them to tame them - learning to ride the waves of emotions rather than becoming entangled with them.
By learning and practicing short moments of mindfulness throughout the day, our courses help participants build good “mental immunity” during anxious and uncertain times.