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Use Mindfulness to ‘Spring Clean’ Your Head

Posted 4/25/2016 by UHBlog

Is stress negatively affecting your life and health? Learn how to take control.

Use Mindfulness to ‘Spring Clean’ Your Head

Spring brings about longer days, warmer temperatures and flowers, but it also comes with its own set of stressors. Does any of this sound familiar: “What will I do with my kids over the summer?” “How am I going to lose 10 pounds?” “When do I have time to fit in spring cleaning?” “How are we going to afford our home repair needs?”

Trying to figure out solutions to these challenges, while still running your day-to-day life, can become overwhelming.

“In life, a certain amount of planning is necessary,” says mindfulness coordinator Suzanne Cushwa Rusnak, MEd, MSSA. “But at some point in that planning, interest and concern can cross the border and become worry, anxiety and stress. We know those things aren’t good for us. They don’t help us get the things done we need to do.”

One of the best ways to alleviate these anxieties is through mindfulness, a practice Rusnak defines as “being in the moment.” Bringing your attention to the present moment throughout the day is the less formal practice of mindfulness, and regular meditation is the formal practice. Think of it as spring cleaning your head.

“When we bring our attention to this moment and start paying attention to our bodies – to the feel of a chair supporting us, or of our feet on the ground and our breath in our bodies – it brings us back to the present,” says Rusnak. “In practicing mindfulness, you become aware when you are leaving a frame of mind that’s helpful. You begin to notice when a to-do list becomes a weight you are carrying around instead of a helpful tool.”

Practiced regularly, mindfulness has beneficial physiological effects, including:

  • Minimizing pain sensitivity
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Warding off depression
  • Improving well-being

Getting to that mindful state is no easy task though.

“Mindfulness is a practice,” she says. “It’s not something that you can learn just by talking or reading about it. You have to actually practice it.”

According to Rusnak, the best way to immerse yourself in the practice is by enrolling in a class.

“It’s very helpful to have someone guide you,” she says. “It’s also really reassuring to have fellow students to interact with, so you know you’re not alone in your various struggles or successes.”

UH Connor Integrative Health Network offers mindfulness programs at multiple locations throughout the year, including at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center and UH Parma Medical Center’s Health Education Center. You’ll learn how to create an ongoing mindfulness practice and techniques to use in various situations. Additionally, you'll receive a journal/workbook and a CD. Learn more about UH Connor Integrative Health Network’s mindfulness programs, online or by calling 216-285-4070.

Suzanne Cushwa Rusnak, MEd, MSSA is the coordinator of mindfulness programming at UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Weiker or any UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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