Mindfulness in the Age of Anxiety

By Lynda Guzman, Director of ACT

 

Mindfulness and Anxiety are two ever-present buzz words in today’s media (both social and formal) which mirrors professional discussions concerning the harmful effects of anxiety and stress on the body and mind. Webster’s Dictionary defines anxiety as “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it” Clearly this describes many of the issues that have caused angst for people today.  The best remedy available (without prescriptions) is the practice of mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness has been defined as “an act of consciously focusing the mind in the present moment without judgement and without attachment to the moment.” (Linehan 2015) It seems so simple but is excruciatingly difficult in this age of heightened stress.  Many people are struggling with how to control their anxiety and how to live their best possible life.  The answer can be found in creating a meaningful mindfulness practice that honors the best of today while honing the skills that one might need for tomorrow.

Meditation is a form of mindfulness where the practitioner focuses on one thing (Beit their breath, a focal point outside of themselves, or some type of counting exercise) for a specific time period which allows the person to connect with that moment.  This type of activity is considered a grounding exercise and can be used in times of high stress as well as part of a daily ritual.  Meditation can also be used to focus one’s energy in the sense of an internal monologue about an aspect of one’s life such as “I will think through all the options before making a decision about my next vacation.”

 

Mindfulness can also be the totality of one’s senses in any given moment.  An example of this can be found in weight loss programs where the program will encourage the participant to use all their senses while eating. “I see a lush red strawberry with small seeds dotting the outside.  The strawberry feels bumpy as I hold it in my hand.  There is a slightly sweet earthy aroma. I hear the gentle smack of my lips as I bite into the strawberry.  I taste the sweetness which fills my mouth.”  This is the total berry experience.  Obviously, this can be done at any moment and in any set of circumstances.  Occasionally, when someone has difficulty with panic or high levels of anxiety, a mental health professional will suggest a naming exercise where the person will name all of the blue things in their environment or all the things that begin with the letter T.

 

Making Your Mark in the World!

MHA’s Rockland Success Team is proud to present our Annual “What’s Cool” Conference “Making Your Mark in the World!”

Each year we address the current concerns that girls are facing in terms of self-confidence, exploring tools for success, understanding parents, thinking about positive role models, and finding a purposeful future leading to happiness in life.

This program attracts 100 girls each year from Rockland County schools. All girls in grades 7 through 12 are welcome to attend and become more empowered!

This year’s event will take place at the Finkelstein Library, Fielding Room at 24 Chestnut Street in Spring Valley NY on Saturday April 6th, 2019 from 1:30 to 3 pm. Doors open at 1 pm and admission ends at 1:30 pm. We cannot admit younger siblings.

Each girl receives refreshments, a goody bag and 2 hours of community service credit for college applications.

If you have questions please call 845 267 2172 x324.

Mobile Outreach Team (MOT)

Welcome Susanne Rios!


MHA is excited to welcome Susanne Rios as the Team Leader of the Mobile Outreach Team!

Susanne is licensed in Family and Marriage Therapy and a Certified Daring Way Facilitator, which is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. The method was designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. Susanne has been practicing since 2006 and just joined MHA after moving from Fairbanks, Alaska where she was a Military Family Life Counselor and Manager of Child and Family Life at a community mental health facility.  Susanne is an engaged mom of 3 children and is excited to be back working in the mental health field!

In 2016, MHA of Rockland was awarded an exclusive grant to work with people who had long-term inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations to regain a sense of independence through community integration, resource development and residential supports.

The Mobile Outreach Team (MOT) receives referrals from Rockland Psychiatric Center for individuals who are currently an inpatient but beginning their hospital discharge process.  We support individuals all the way from discharge planning to re-establishing community connections and to living independent and self-directed lives.  In general, MOT helps people live more independent and self-directed lives.

 

So what does that look like?

 

· Assisting in developing daily living skills—shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, personal hygiene, etc.

· Helping with learning public transit or other transportation needs

· Friendly companionship to reduce isolating tendencies

· Promoting social connections through day programs & community events

· Assisting with benefits management and other financial needs

· Providing additional medical and counseling supports

· Linking to extended services such as Care Management, Vocational Services or ongoing treatment programs

 

MOT is personalized to the needs and goals of each individual—allowing for unique and customized support.  To learn more about MOT, visit our website at http://www.mharockland.org/mot/