Create Psychological Safety
The CDC, World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health all agree that mindfulness is an essential intervention for managing panic, fear, anxiety and depression. With 80% of the workforce at home and worried about their health, families, paychecks and futures, it’s time to invest in training for mental strength and resilience.
Mindfulness Best Practices for Stress and Anxiety teaches skills for mental strength, grit and resilience, to stay positive and thrive in the face of sudden change and adversity.
Stay Calm and Connected
Dr. Judson Brewer is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and the Research Director of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. He is one of our leading experts in addiction, anxiety and habit change.
This is the first brief video in an excellent DAILY series that he’s posting to YouTube. The series tackles the neuroscience of our fear and anxiety, and offers calm, practical perspectives on our brain, and behaviors.
You can catch up, and subscribe going forward, here.
Finding Purpose in the Crisis
Six Seconds is a great non-profit organization dedicated to developing research, education and tools for emotional intelligence. This brief video from founder and CEO Josh Freedman, is one of the most thoughtful and inspiring takes we’ve seen on the crisis.
Though it’s framed as Joshua’s questions about how to think about his organization’s response - in fact it is a call to action for each of us to shift out of the urgency of the moment, dig deep, find our purpose, and approach this sudden and scary situation by taking some intentional steps forward.
Wash Your Hands and Meditate
Anushka Fernandopulle is a meditation and mindfulness teacher in San Francisco. She has a BA from Harvard, and MBA from Yale, and has studied with Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and other distinguished Western meditation teachers.
Anushka’s proposing that we mentally recite two rounds of Loving-Kindness phrasing as we wash our hands for the recommended 20 seconds (as many times a day as we can remember to do it). This is an act of self-care that simultaneously extends care and kindness towards others. Thanks Anushka!
Caring for Others
Another brief but important perspective from Anushka. Most of us are changing our entire lives to protect other people from harm. Focusing on that truth can transform how we experience this difficult time.
The risk for healthy individuals is real, but not exceedingly dangerous. The biggest risk is to those who are elderly or have compromised immunities, or some underlying health issues - which gives us an opportunity to practice care, not just for ourselves, but for those around us.
The Danger of Emotional Contagion
Wharton School management professor Sigal Barsade, helps us understand the dangerous dynamics of emotional contagion. Simply defined, emotional contagion is the transfer of moods and feelings from one person to another. It happens all the time on a micro-level and is usually harmless, like a yawn that ripples from one person in the room to another.
But at the macro-level, emotional contagion can be dangerous because it can interfere with making sound, logical decisions. This is an interesting and important podcast that not only diagnoses the spread of fear and panic, but gives us the knowledge and tools to fight back.
Coping with Anxiety
Sharon Salzberg is one of the seminal voices of the modern mindfulness movement in the West. She is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre Massachusetts, where a meditation student named Jon Kabat-Zinn conceptualized the secular Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum for the pain clinic at the UMass Medical School.
This is a brief, straightforward view of anxiety, and how to open up the space to reframe and respond to it in a skillful, strategic way. It’s not a guided meditation, just some thoughts from someone who’s been helping others for years and years.
The Emotional Life of Our Brains
Dr. Richie Davidson is another prominent founder and leader of the modern mindfulness movement. He is Professor of Psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds.
He famously conducted the neuroscientific experiments that demonstrated the impact of meditation on physical systems and the brain. His current research is focused on the neural bases of emotion, and methods to promote human flourishing. This recent TedX presentation is invaluable now, and illuminates the road ahead.
A Mayo Clinic Exercise
Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with Mayo Clinic’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Health takes us through a brief and calming guided meditation practice (for children and adults), aimed at reducing the fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis.
Mayo Clinic is one of the pre-eminent health care systems in the world. It treats over 1.5 million patients per year, and is on the global cutting-edge of medical research and education. Go here for another brief exercise from Kristin, that helps us ground and center ourselves in a time of crisis.
The Habits of Happiness
Matthieu Ricard is a French biochemist turned Buddhist monk, who is known as “the happiest man in the world”, based on fMRI scans that show his capacity for joy and compassion to be, literally, off the charts.
Today, his story and message are more relevant than ever. Ricard describes a state that “pervades and underlies all emotional states, and all the joys and sorrows that can come one's way." and explains how we can train our minds to achieve it.
Psychology of the Pandemic
This is an early (mid-February) and accurate take on COVID-19, in an APA podcast featuring Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, the Howard Heinz University Professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Politics and Strategy, and a distinguished expert on the public perception of risk, human judgment, and decision-making.
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the leading scientific and professional association, with over 120,000 researchers, educators and clinicians in the U.S. It is an authoritative voice on mental health in America.