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Mindfulness for Child Life Professionals

We're so glad you're here. This mindfulness page has been curated with intention for child life students and professionals. It shares the simplicities and benefits of active awareness, and provides tools for use in your everyday life. Happy exploring.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness does not have a specific, widely accepted definition, as it means something a little different to the many researchers, scholars, and practitioners who have studied it. Mindfulness may be thought of as a term to describe a variety of practices that approach awareness in unique ways. Mindfulness as a Buddhist concept means memory and a clear awareness of what is happening (Bodhi, 2011), a state of being alert and focusing on here and now (Dalai Lama & Berzin, 1997), and an active, engaged, non-reactive process (Rapgay & Bystrisky, 2009). From a more Western viewpoint, mindfulness is paying attention and being aware of the present moment in a non-judgmental and non-reactive way (Kabat-Zinn, 2015), intentionally bringing awareness to the present moment without judgement (Siegel, 2012), and awareness of and open attention to present events and experience (Brown, et. al., 2007). Another concept of mindfulness involves our cognitive abilities; creation of new things, being open to new information, and being aware of more than one perspective (Langer, 1989). 

For our purposes here, we hope to welcome, illuminate, and highlight all concepts of mindfulness to really capture the breadth of mindfulness practice and share many of the positive impacts it has on a variety of users.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

 

As a helping profession, individuals learning and working in child life are susceptible to compassion fatigue, burnout, and difficulty achieving work-life balance (Meadors et al., 2010). This makes the implementation of regular self-care practices essential. Mindfulness is one of many ways to show compassion to yourself. Whether you’re a student or seasoned professional, there are evidenced-based reasons to develop a mindful routine. 

Green List Benefits of White Tea Instagram Story

Mindfulness:

  1. Decreases burnout in health care professionals (Goodman & Schorling, 2012)
  2. Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety in healthcare professionals (Kriakous et al., 2020)
  3. Reduces students’ perceived stress (Maher, 2021)
  4. Helps regulate automatic responses, thereby reducing implicit bias (Lueke & Gibson, 2014)
  5. Improves job performance and reduces turnover (Dane & Brummel, 2013)
  6. Serves as a protective factor in coping and dealing with COVID-19 (Dillard & Meier, 2021)
  7. Fosters creative insight and problem solving (Hester, 2021)
  8. Improves sleep patterns and daytime fatigue (Huberty et al., 2021)
  9. Enhances emotional regulation (Jiménez-Picón, 2021)
  10. Improves attention and working memory (Yakobi et al., 2021)
These are just some of the mental, physical, and socioemotional benefits associated with mindfulness. Another reason to consider embracing mindfulness is that interventions can be brief, and results can be immediate (Kemper, 2017). A few minutes paying attention to your thoughts, movement, breath, feelings, or surroundings is all it takes. In the resources below, you will find a variety of accessible on-the-go, as well as in-depth, mindful practices to incorporate into your daily routine.

Free Online Resources:

Calm. (2022). Mindfulness resources — Calm blog. https://www.calm.com/blog/mindfulness-resources
Free downloadable journals, guidebooks, and calendars to help foster a mindfulness practice in your life.

Hanh, T. N. (2022, January 27). Thich Nhat Hanh on the practice of mindfulness. Lion's Roar. https://www.lionsroar.com/mindful-living-thich-nhat-hanh-on-the-practice-of-mindfulness-march-2010/
Five mindful practices provided by Thich Nhat Hanh - a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, activist, author, poet, and teacher who is recognized as the "father of mindfulness."

Mindful Communications & Such, PBC. (2022). mindful: healthy mind, healthy life. Mindful. https://www.mindful.org/
A large variety of mindful content including articles, script/audio/video meditations, mindful movements, breathwork, and directories for mindful coaches and events. Categories include: How to Meditate, Focus, Calm, Sleep, Movement, Compassion, Kids, and Anxiety.

Newman, K. M., & Ho, J. (2021, March 12). Five free mindfulness apps worthy of your attention. Mindful. https://www.mindful.org/free-mindfulness-apps-worthy-of-your-attention/
5 free mindfulness apps available for download and descriptions of what they have to offer.

Sean Fargo. (2022). Mindfulness exerciseshttps://mindfulnessexercises.com/#
An assortment of free mindfulness exercises in the form of courses, worksheets, video and audio files.

University of California, San Diego. (2022). Mindfulness & compassion resources. Centers for Integrative Health. https://cih.ucsd.edu/mindfulness/mindfulness-compassion-resources

Poetry, meditations, body scans, and mindful movement offerings. Some resources available in various languages.

Winston, D. (2011-2021). Guided meditations. Guided Meditations - UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center - Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved from https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations#Mandarin An assortment of guided meditation audio/scripts in English, Armenian, Cantonese, Farsi, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Mixtec, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language.

References

Bodhi, B. (2011). What does mindfulness really mean? A canonical perspective. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 19–39. doi:10.1080/ 14639947.2011.564813.

Brown, K. W., Ryan, R. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2007). Mindfulness: theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. Psychological Inquiry, 18(4), 211–237. doi:10.1080/ 10478400701598298.

Dalai Lama, & Berzin, A. (1997). The Gelug/Kagyu tradition of Mahamudra. New York, NY: Snow Lion.

Dane, E., & Brummel, B. J. (2013). Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention. Human Relations67(1), 105-128. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726713487753

Dillard, A. J., & Meier, B. P. (2021). Trait mindfulness is negatively associated with distress related to COVID-19. Personality and Individual Differences179, 110955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2021.110955

Goldstein, E. (2013, May 29). Stressing out? S.T.O.P. Mindful. https://www.mindful.org/stressing-out-stop/

Goodman, M. J., & Schorling, J. B. (2012). A mindfulness course decreases burnout and improves well-being among healthcare providers. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine43(2), 119-128. https://doi.org/10.2190/pm.43.2.b

Hester, D. M., Jr. (2021). The role of mindfulness in creativity and problem solving (Order No. 28321176). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2513201519). Retrieved from https://proxy.lib.umich.edu/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/role-mindfulness-creativity-problem-solving/docview/2513201519/se-2?accountid=14667

Huberty, J. L., Green, J., Puzia, M. E., Larkey, L., Laird, B., Vranceanu, A., Vlisides-Henry, R., & Irwin, M. R. (2021). Testing a mindfulness meditation mobile app for the treatment of sleep-related symptoms in adults with sleep disturbance: A randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE16(1), e0244717. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244717

Jiménez-Picón, N., Romero-Martín, M., Ponce-Blandón, J. A., Ramirez-Baena, L., Palomo-Lara, J. C., & Gómez-Salgado, J. (2021). The relationship between mindfulness and emotional intelligence as a protective factor for healthcare professionals: Systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health18(10), 5491. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105491

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2015). Mindfulness6(6), 1481–1483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0456-x

Kemper, K. J. (2017). Brief Online Mindfulness Training. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(1), 75–80. doi: 10.1177/2156587216639199

Kriakous, S. A., Elliott, K. A., Lamers, C., & Owen, R. (2020). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the psychological functioning of healthcare professionals: A systematic review. Mindfulness12(1), 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01500-9

Langer, E. J. (1989). Mindfulness. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press

Lueke, A., & Gibson, B. (2014). Mindfulness meditation reduces implicit age and race bias. Social Psychological and Personality Science6(3), 284-291. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550614559651

Maher, C. (2021). The benefits of mindfulness for University students. Building Healthy Academic Communities Journal5(1), 42-57. https://doi.org/10.18061/bhac.v5i1.7735

Thera, N. (1968). The power of mindfulness. Wheel Publication, 1-75.

Rapgay, L., & Bystrisky, A. (2009). Classical mindfulness: an introduction to its theory and practice for clinical application. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1172, 148–162. doi:10.1111/j.1749- 6632.2009.04405.x.

Scott, E. (2020). How to become more mindful in your everyday life. Verywell Mind, 13 July 2020, www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-exercises-for-everyday-life-3145187.

Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York, NY: Norton.

Yakobi, O., Smilek, D., & Danckert, J. (2021). The effects of mindfulness meditation on attention, executive control and working memory in healthy adults: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cognitive Therapy and Research45(4), 543-560. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-020-10177-2

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