What is mindfulness to you?
Mindfulness to me is the ability to sit in the current moment without judgment. Mindfulness is a tool I can use to bring awareness to my thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. In my own life, mindfulness allows me to appreciate all opportunities and challenges in the moment they present themselves.
How do you use mindfulness in your work, research, or practice?
My current research involves assessing an adapted Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP-W) intervention for ethnically women with a history of trauma and substance use disorder. Some of the original MBSR practices were difficult for low-income, low-educated women with trauma symptoms. An adapted version is now in a randomized-controlled clinical trial and I will be helping the research team assess the acceptability of the newly adapted intervention for this population. This study will hopefully provide insights to future adaptation and precision medicine for specific subgroups so Mindfulness can be offered everyone in a way that is appropriate for their needs.
How has the practice of mindfulness affected your life (personally and professionally)?
As a Ph.D. and a project coordinator, my life can be hectic and overwhelming. Applied mindfulness practices help me to focus on the work in front of me and not worry about what didn’t get finished yesterday or what will need to be done tomorrow. My work mantra is “I will do all that I can do for as long as I can do it, without sacrificing my own basic needs.” I feel more aware of when my body and I listed when my body needs to rest and I have reduced my judgment of those feelings. I know I am not weak for needing to sleep and take breaks. I consistently ask myself if I am doing 1) what I need to do, 2) what I want to do, and 3) what is best. Every day I feel excited to work and I can feel passion for what I am doing, but I remind myself that if that ever changes, that is alright too. I know that I am in charge of my actions and I can stop, wait, and go whenever I want to reassess my response to stressors.
How can mindfulness transform society? What does the future hold for the practice of mindfulness?
I hope the future of mindfulness teaches us how to handle our stress in a healthy way. I hope we learn how to live our lives without fear of stress. I hope the future allows us to succeed AND help others without having to choose between the two for fear of becoming overwhelmed. I hope stress can become a tool we use to build resilience without burnout.