May 19, 2020
Mindfulness is a therapeutic approach to help with stress reduction and its practice can promote good physical and mental health. It is based on deliberately focusing one’s awareness on the present moment with calmness in a non-judgmental way. In those moments, experiences may be external or internal. Examples of external experiences are what the body senses in the surroundings, such as feeling a breeze, hearing a distant train whistle, or smelling a cooking aroma. Internal experiences may be physical, for example, feeling muscles while stretching, hunger, or fatigue, or they may be in the mind, such as emotions or moods.
In being aware of and calmly accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental way in a particular moment, one can achieve a state of alertness through focused relaxation. The process is not complicated and can be learned through in-person sessions or online. It is particularly good for reducing anxiety and depression and for coping with and adapting to stress in the moment or long term, including the stress of a disease like Parkinson’s. In this podcast, Angela Johnson, a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Rush University in Chicago, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, gives some simple examples of mindfulness practices, how they may benefit people in periods of stress, and how to fit mindfulness into one’s normal routine.