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Free mindfulness guides this Stress Awareness Month

To mark Stress Awareness Month, Dr Florian Ruths, Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, explains how mindfulness can reduce your stress and anxiety and highlights some of the free guided meditation sessions created for colleagues and students across the partnership and beyond.

The world feels like it has been moving from one crisis to the next. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have affected all our lives in different and challenging ways. These effects were felt particularly at home during the onset of COVID-19, when many members of our community and NHS staff became ill and some lost their lives.Mindfulness For All small

As a way to offer support to our frontline staff, we started the Mindfulness for All (‘M4ALL”) programme in March 2020. A popular daily meditation practice was offered to help us deal with a situation that could often feel overwhelming. As staff welcomed this offer, we later moved to a weekly live meditation program and opened the program up to all; staff and members of the public alike.

While mindfulness can’t get rid of the direct effects from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, sitting and engaging in meditation can help us to address and manage our emotional responses like fear, disgust, and anger. We can better understand our thinking patterns of worry, concern and rumination about injustice and future risks. With the ubiquity of the digital world, at times it is natural to feel overwhelmed by negative news stories and images that surround us. Mindfulness helps to provide us with a moment of escape and reflection, allowing us to make more informed choices about how we digest information and changes or assess our media use.

To help you practice mindfulness, visit the M4ALL Learning Hub page and add it to your basket for free (Click here for our Learning Hub guide). You can then access a large selection of resources covering a range of common topics, including several videos dealing with stress:

We also offer our ‘Mindfulness for All’ live meditation program that happens every Monday between 8.30am and 9am. A group of experienced mindfulness facilitators, including psychologists, nurses, junior and senior doctors, guide a meditation practice. We discuss how meditation is relevant to us all and how you can get involved.

We sit together with friendly people and cultivate a space of calm to move forwards towards compassionate action. Mindfulness awareness can help us preserve our strength; the strength to engage with the challenges that we face as an act of courage. Mindfulness awareness can help us to identify and deal with problems that we can relieve; in the world around us, and within ourselves.

You can join us at our next two sessions by clicking on the links below:

If you would like to be included on the regular invite list for these sessions then please contact carl.nwabudike@slam.nhs.uk