Journal of Psychology and Cognition

Review Paper - Journal of Psychology and Cognition (2017) Volume 2, Issue 3

Navigating anxiety and stress through mindfulness: cultivating mindfulness and awareness in a community-based setting

Stress and anxiety are afflicting Canadians at all ages significantly impacting their health and well-being. In this article, we argue that community-based non-medical alternatives are needed to relieve pressure from the health care system, provide wellness-based solutions that do not rely on medication and empower the individual to assume a primary role in self-care. We present the evaluation of the 8 week “Navigating Anxiety and Stress through Mindfulness” program aimed to assist individuals who identify problematic anxiety and/or stress by providing training in mindfulness-awareness meditation and related practices. Mindfulness training involves relating with precision and accuracy to whatever arises in one’s state of mind or in the surroundings; awareness training fosters openness and a greater connection to the environment. Rather than regarding anxiety and stress as problems to be gotten rid of, participants were coached to relate to these experiences non-judgmentally, with openness, curiosity and an interest in learning from them. Evaluation data from five groups (40 participants) indicated a 40.4% improvement in scores. Participants’ self-reports indicated significant improvement in their ability to interrupt storylines (discursive thought patterns), rumination, not being fully present and their ability to accept things as they are, ranging from 25% to 60%. It is evident that participants found mindfulness-awareness meditation and related practices beneficial. Their evaluation responses showed significant understanding of the key elements of mindfulness and that they had begun integrating mindfulness into their lives. The majority developed a regular home meditation practice. The program proved to be viable in a community-based setting.

Author(s): Martha Traverso-Yepez, Andrew Safer

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