Tame nurse stress with mindfulness and meditation – Nurse.com

Posted: October 13, 2019 at 3:46 pm


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Susan Taylor

Health professionals are exposed to situations of emotional vulnerability by being in continuous contact with patients and their suffering, which can cause conditions such as compassion fatigue, according to a review article published Sept. 9 in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. To address this issue, therapies such as mindfulness are being used to reduce stress and promote self-compassion.

But practicing mindfulness and meditation takes practice and knowledge to strengthen the nervous system in its response to stressful situations.

Its much like how an athlete trains for a sport, according to Susan Taylor, PhD, who leads the Relias Focused CE series, Focused Awareness: Bringing Mindfulness Into Focus for Healthcare Professionals.

The goal is to help clinicians learn how to use mindfulness and meditation to stay centered, become less stressed and help care for patients.

What happens is the mind is this field of energy, said Taylor, director of educational programs and founder of the Center for Meditation Science.When were outward driven and being bombarded with issues everyones in panic and fear and worry its learning how to tap into your own resources. We tap back into our own center of being. Meditationallows you to do that, if its done systematically, with precision, skill and in a systematic way.

Mindfulness is awareness, according to Taylor.

We have to bring that awareness into ourselves, so we can make the changes that we need to so were not disturbed, she said. In essence, we build resilience.

Nurses often cant change whats happening around them, but they can change themselves from the inside and project those changes to the outside world, according to Taylor. She tells people to remain CALM Consciously Aware Living in the Moment.

That could apply to the nurse in a busy emergency department who is surrounded by chaos. But applying the CALM approach, according to Taylor, is something the nurse would have had to learn and practice at home to strengthen the nervous system and harness strength in stressful situations.

Its the nervous system that reacts when youre in the work field, she said. If that nervous system is balanced and strengthened, then when you get into that situation your brain is not going to be wired for reaction.

Taylor continued, Youre going to be able to step back. Youre going to stop, observe, detach and then do whatever you need to do to make those changes without saying Oh my God, whats going to happen! The nervous system is not going to get into the alarm state that drains us. It drains us so fast and readily. Thats what aging and disease is all about.

There are different approaches for achieving better awareness and clarity. Researchers wrote about focus meditation for healthcare providers in a paper published Sept. 9 in the Swedish healthcare journal Lakartidningen.

Providers can practice the attention skill when facing an emergency by remembering a STOP sign Stop, Take a breath, Observe and Priority first.

Another approach, called insight meditation, helps providers observe their thoughts, then lets them pass and bring clarity. The authors wrote insight meditation can be practiced during emotional distress as SOAL Stop, Observe, Accept and Let go.

When were aware of our thoughts, we can then focus our life to where we want, Taylor said.

Nurses should learn how to breathe to reduce nurse stress, according to Taylor.

The breath regulates the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the nervous system. By focusing on the breath, nurses can strengthen the nervous system.

Taylor recommended focusing on breathing for five minutes each day. To do that, nurses have to learn the basic foundation of diaphragmatic breathing. Cleveland Clinic offers a resource on how to do that.

Once you learn how to do that, then you bring that breathing up to the base of the nostrils and you focus on that for five minutes a day. You can use a counting practice of one to five and five to one, Taylor said.

Breathing through a situation can lessen the toll it takes by taming nurse stress.

The breath is what regulates the thought process, she said. When we get a feeling, it creates a change in our breathing pattern, which then creates the thought. What we want to do is be able to balance ourselves so breath always stays regulated. When that breath stays regulated, then were able to monitor our thoughts and feelings so while were heading north, we dont end up going south.

Another important aspect of being aware and meditation is the ability to relax. But that, too, is a learned response. Nurses cant tell themselves to relax and expect nurse stress to disappear. It just doesnt work, according to Taylor.

Meditation is not easy, but I also dont water it down in the sense that theres a very large spectrum of mindfulness practices, she said. I teach people an authentic, systematic approach because they can then have it as a core to what theyre doing.

Reaping the benefits of becoming more aware, breathing correctly, meditating and relaxing takes learning and daily practice, according to Taylor.

Its something that has to be built up, she said. Were conditioning the nervous system to be more resilient. For conditioning, you need to do it every day.

Focused Awareness: Bringing Mindfulness Into Focus for Healthcare Professionals

(36 contact hrs)Learn the foundational tools for focused awareness through mindfulness and concentration, and the keys to starting a meditation practice. Recognize the principles of healing and gain skills to bring meditation into healthcare. Obtain strategies to take charge of your health, and your patients health, by coping with stress more effectively. Network with your peers and form your own study group within the online classroom.

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Tame nurse stress with mindfulness and meditation - Nurse.com

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October 13th, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Meditation