Mindfulness is being present in the moment. One way to practice mindfulness is to focus on one sense or to use all five senses in order to feel fully immersed in the present moment. In any given moment there are sounds, smells, tastes and things to feel or see that help to bring your awareness to what is happening right now. As you focus your mind, calmly acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

Focusing on the now can decrease the pain of the past or the worry of the future. Those will still be waiting for you when you come out of your mindful moment, but taking the time to be mindful of the present helps create space to ease the burden of the past or future. It does not take it away; rather, it creates a little room to breathe as you sit with your senses. Taking a moment to breathe and exist in the “right now” may create a different perspective or ease the weight of what has been or what may come. It also helps you fully appreciate and enjoy the present.

The Weekly PAUSE: Stress, Emotions and Self-Care

UB.U created The Weekly PAUSE email series for adults to encourage personal well-being and to initiate more connection within the community and conversation among local families. Below are some of those simple resources, rooted in self-awareness, emotional regulation and brain health education that anyone can use at any time in their life.  

Stress: Positive, Tolerable, and Toxic

A stressful situation — whether something physical, such as a global pandemic, or psychological, such as persistent worry about losing a job — can trigger stress hormones that produce changes in the mind and the body.

Stressful circumstances can make the heart pound, breath quicken, and chest tighten. However, not all stress is bad.

Noticing your stress response can give you the kick you need to accomplish the task at hand ... or it can feel like it might crush you. The key is to recognize the difference and harness your stress so you can benefit, rather than suffer.


Surfing the Wave of Emotion

Our emotions are meant to act like waves in an ocean - moving in and moving out, changing and shifting. If that’s the case, why do we often get ‘stuck’ in an emotion? 

Some emotions make us feel uncomfortable or downright awful. Naturally, our tendency is to push them away or avoid them altogether. Instead of reacting or trying to control the wave, we can try to identify the emotion and observe it like a wave. ‘Naming’ the emotion as we are feeling it allows us to accept the experience; ‘Taming’ the wave instead of getting crushed by it.


The HEART of Being Human

We all experience suffering at one time or another in our lives. The triggers, circumstances and degree of pain might be different, but the idea that we aren't alone  in experiencing sadness and pain is the shared human experience. Recent studies show that embracing our humanness with self-compassion - taking care of our mental, emotional, and physical health - boosts our overall well-being and can lead to lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Prioritizing self-compassion and self-care keeps the heart and the mind in harmony, connecting us to others and to the shared experience of being human.