Who couldn’t use a tool for managing chronic stress, especially since the start of the pandemic?
Arguably, there has never been a better time to look into starting a regular mindfulness meditation practice.
While it’s arguably been oversold by for-profit groups as a panacea for everything from depression to chronic pain, longtime devotees say they find mindfulness meditation is useful for letting go of worry, and coping with loss and life transitions.
Again, those are tools that could prove more useful than ever right now.
However, there are widespread misconceptions about what mindfulness is, and what it involves. For instance, it doesn’t prevent your mind from wandering, nor are distracting thoughts a sign you’re doing it ‘wrong’.
In fact, it’s pretty normal to find your mind drifting away from the present moment — when that happens, you just gently reel it back in by concentrating on your breath, or the sensation in a specific part of your body.
Curious about what mindfulness might be able to do for you, or whether you might not be a good candidate to try it out?
Read more about myths and misconceptions around mindfulness, how it’s practiced, and the evidence behind it in this Good Times wellbeing feature from January/February 2018: ‘Why Mindfulness May Be Right for You.’
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so generously shared their time and expertise:
- Dr. Elena Ballantyne, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist with the clinical neuropsychology service at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and an assistant clinical professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences in the faculty of health sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
- Dr. Kate Partridge, PhD. Sadly, Dr. Partridge, a registered psychologist specializing in mindfulness who practiced in London, Ont., passed away in 2018.
- Dr. Catherine Phillips, PhD, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and founding director of the MindfulnessInstitute.ca
- Kathy Smith, a London, Ont., a founding member of the Age Friendly Ontario Network and London Area Creative Age Network, and owner/operator of creativeage.ca
- Randi-Mae Sanford-Leibold, a mindfulness teacher in the greater Toronto area. She’s also a writer, counsellor, corporate facilitator and consultant.
- Dr. Brett Thombs, PhD, a professor in the faculty of medicine at McGill University, senior investigator with the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Que., and chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Dr. Thombs is also director of the Scleroderma Patient-centred Intervention Network.