Is Mindfulness Worth the Hype?

Episode 126 August 16, 2023 00:30:24
Is Mindfulness Worth the Hype?
Alcohol Tipping Point
Is Mindfulness Worth the Hype?

Aug 16 2023 | 00:30:24


Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Is mindfulness worth the hype? Spoiler: Yes. This episode is a recording of a conversation I had with my coworker and friend Candi from our hospital’s podcast, Saint Alphonsus Wellcast. I wanted to share it with you to show you how mindfulness is not all about sitting cross-legged on a mountain, channeling your inner monk. Nope, you can totally sprinkle mindfulness into your everyday routine, no Himalayan retreat required. 

When I waved goodbye to alcohol, I was left with a bunch of emotions I couldn't numb anymore. And that's where mindfulness swooped in like a superhero. It helped me cruise through life's twists and turns without drowning in my feelings. And guess what? It can do the same for you. 

We chat about: 

Want a deeper dive into using mindfulness to stop numbing out?  

I'm bringing back the live Mindful AF course! This is a great opportunity to learn more about mindfulness and how it can help you manage not just your drinking but your life. Special early bird pricing for signing up by August 20th, 2023. Learn more and sign up here: 


View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Is Mindfulness Worth the Hype [00:00:00] Welcome back to the alcohol tipping podcast. I am. Sharing this episode that I actually recorded with one of my work colleagues back at St. Alphonse's. And it's about mindfulness and I'm excited to share it because I'm also bringing back my program mindful AF [00:01:00] and I wanted to just give you a little bit more information about mindfulness. So in this rerelease of the podcast that I did with my friend candy back at St. Alphonsus. We talk about mindfulness and I share with her. How it can help you. And some of the top myths surrounding mindfulness and also ways you can just practice it every day. Do you, you don't have to become a monk and go live on a mountain. You can bring mindfulness into your life every day. I'm really passionate about mindfulness. It really helped me navigate my life after I gave up drinking because I had all these emotions. And I couldn't drink at them anymore and I couldn't numb them out. And so I needed to find ways to navigate life, life on life's terms. And that's really what mindfulness does for you. And so this mindful a F program that I do, it's actually modified [00:02:00] from a class that I taught to the nurses and healthcare workers at the hospital. And then last year I offered it for the first time in the alcohol tipping point, because so many of the concepts can help you manage your mind and manage your drinking, manage your life. Honestly. And so I love teaching mindful a F and I want to invite you to the next live class. Which is going to start September 13th. We're going to do live classes every Wednesday evening. And it's different than just getting together and meditating. And I will talk about that in this podcast episode. It's a, a myth about mindfulness that it's just about meditation and meditation is great and it's free. Right? You can do insight timer, you can do YouTube videos and I highly recommend you do. But in this class, what we really do is take a deep dive into specific mindfulness topics. [00:03:00] And learn. How you think the way you do, why you think the way you do and then how to change that either accepting it or just bringing attention to it and changing it. So each class for each week that we do each topic is going to take a different aspect of mindfulness of how you think and break it down and give you tools. So that. You can manage your thinking better so that you just don't automatically turn to drinking or, you know, for some people you you've given up drinking maybe, and you're still managing your emotions. You're still dealing with life. You know, you're still having anxiety and stress and burnout. So many people have burnout. And so mindfulness is a way that you can. Manage that anxiety and stress. So you don't have so much burnout. So we'll be spending a whole week on talking about being an [00:04:00] autopilot and how we just automatically do these behaviors. We automatically turn to drinking whenever we feel anxious or when we're at a party or whatever. And so we'll talk about how to break out of autopilot so that you can bring more awareness and make better choices. We're going to talk about compassion and how to be more compassionate to ourselves as we're making changes. And then talk about bringing more attention to the here and now, because so often. What happens with our anxiety is we're either, you know, fretting ruminating about the past or we're fixated and we're anxious about the future. But when we can learn to bring ourselves back to the present moment to the here and now, instead of. Then in there. Then that can bring us so much peace and calmness. And, you know, when I did I did a survey and I was [00:05:00] asking you all, I sent it out in one of my emails and I was asking. What were your top challenges? As far as when it comes to drinking and anxiety and stress, that ranked number one. And so I wanted to give you a tool to help you better, man, manage those emotions when life's a shit storm, when you're feeling anxious and stress. So that you don't have to turn to drinking. And so that's, that's what mindfulness can do. And that's why this program is different than just like practicing a meditation. I really think when you can learn to become a better thinker and manage your thoughts and either change them or accept them. Then that's going to help all aspects of your life. So. I want to invite you to join the next mindful a F program. It starts September 13th, it's eight weeks. All the classes will be recorded. You're also going [00:06:00] to get a ton of worksheets and resources and you will also get those meditations as well. And it's just a really wonderful program. We'll record all those live classes if you're not able to make them, but it's just, it's a good time. To spend some time. Learning to live mindfully learning to use mindfulness to live life fully without not mean out. So check that out. You can go to alcohol eight F. And if you sign up before August 20th, you'll get early bird pricing. And I would love to have you join me. Also put the link in the show notes. And I hope you enjoy this episode that I do with candy, because it will give you a little bit more of a background about mindfulness. And how it's accessible to everyone. And, and how it's helpful to everyone too. So enjoy this episode. I would love to see you in the mindful a F class. Candi: [00:07:00] Welcome to St. Alphonsus Wellcast, the podcast where we explore the many facets of health and wellbeing. This podcast is brought to you by St. Alphonsus Corporate Health and Wellbeing and a generous grant from the St. Alphonsus Foundation. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. Welcome back to the St. Alphonsus WellCast. I'm Kandi Zappia, Wellness Coordinator at St. Alphonsus Corporate Health and Well Being. While I'm usually more behind the scenes as a producer of our podcast, today I get the privilege to host and I am joined by my colleague and friend, Deborah Mazner. Hello, Debbie. Deb: Hi, Candy. I'm excited to be on the show today. Candi: Yes, thanks for joining us. So for those of you who don't know, Debbie is a registered nurse in our department, and today she's going to be speaking with us on the topic of mindfulness. So we're going to learn more about [00:08:00] what mindfulness is, the benefits of being more mindful, and tips on how we can practice mindfulness in our day to day lives. So with that, I'm going to kind of pass it on to Debbie and let you kind of take the reins on this. Deb: Well, first of all, I really love mindfulness. I've gotten more passionate about it as the years have gone on, and I've just found it to be something that is very useful and practical and, and actually something that anyone can do. It seems kind of daunting at first, but as we talk about today, you'll find out that mindfulness is for everyone. Candi: I love that. So break it down for us. is mindfulness. When we say let's practice mindfulness, what do you mean? Well, Deb: it's basically bringing your attention to the current moment, the present moment. So paying attention to the present moment in an open and nonjudgmental way. [00:09:00] You know, we, we find that so often we're either ruminating about the past or we're anxious and we're rehearsing for the future, right? So mindfulness is about the now and what we find is right now we are okay. You know, as you are listening to these words. You are okay right now. I love that. So, it's just a way of helping you manage different areas of your life. You know, mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress. It can help control anxiety. It can promote your emotional health. It can decrease symptoms of depression. can increase your focus and your attention span. It can even reduce age related memory loss. It can help fight addictions. It can improve your sleep control pain [00:10:00] and reduce your blood pressure. So it's not just woo, right? Right. Right. Candi: Right. Well, it sounds like there's a lot of great benefits and I can imagine just taking a moment. Anyways, in our days, and like you say, being present in the moment, I can definitely see how that can help with you know, anxiety because of course, we know that anxiety lives in the future, right? And as someone that likes to plan well ahead, sometimes I'm unable to just kind of like quiet my mind and really be present in the moment because I'm thinking about, oh, I need to get this done or that done, but I could definitely see. The benefit, the natural benefit that would come from just trying to, you know, for a short period of time because, you know, we, we've got things to do and we do need to be prepared, but, you know, just taking a few minutes, would you suggest a few minutes in the day to [00:11:00] just focus and find someplace quiet and just really be present to kind of just recharge our batteries? Deb: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there's different ways you can practice mindfulness. So one is just taking that sort of break. It might be helpful to go over just some of the myths about mindfulness to be like, what is this thing that we're talking about, mindfulness and living in the present moment? What does that really Candi: mean? Yeah. Definitely interested. Let's, let's hit some of those myths around mindfulness. Deb: Okay, well, I would say the number one myth is that mindfulness is meditation. So mindfulness is, or meditation is one way to practice mindfulness, but it doesn't mean that that is all you are doing. You know, I think a lot of people get intimidated or they don't even want to do it because they think, Oh, I need to just have a [00:12:00] shrine in my room and sit crisscross go on a silent retreat, you know, become a monk study, study meditation, you know, just kind of all these daunting things. So I do like to point out that although meditation is great and it's, it's a wonderful way to practice mindfulness, it isn't. Exactly all of mindfulness. Candi: Great. That's a good clarification. We don't have to go to those extremes, but there are ways that we can incorporate meditation, but that's not just what mindfulness is. So that's great. Okay, what's another myth we can bust? Deb: That mindfulness is about taking time out to rest and relax. Okay. So, yeah, that might be a side effect of taking time to come to the now, the present moment, but really what we're doing is we are allowing ourselves to [00:13:00] be in the present moment as it is, you know, accepting life on life's terms, and sometimes life sucks. Right? Sometimes it's awful. You know, life, I like to say life is 50 50. It's 50% good, 50% bad. It kind of runs the gamut in between, right? Sometimes it's going to be awful. Sometimes it's going to be awesome. So, how can we learn to sit down? In our uncomfortableness, how can we learn to allow even negative emotions? Because when we're talking about being mindful to the present moment, our present moment isn't always blissful, right? It could be that you are feeling anxious. It could be that you are feeling angry, or you are stressed out, or you're sad. And that's okay. We, what we do is we bring attention to our feelings. And we observe them in an open [00:14:00] and non judgmental way. We're just allowing them to be. Wow. Candi: That's deep. So, so it's not just taking a nap. It's not just relaxing on the couch, but more of something that we're actively engaging in with our thought processes and everything. I think that's. That's great. That's, that's clearing up some things for me, myself about what I thought, you know, mindfulness. That's a great clarification and it does, it puts more work back on us. So we're still being, I guess, and that goes back to being present is acknowledging those emotions and those feelings, whatever they may be in that moment and kind of working through them, appreciating that they're there, acknowledging it and then kind of, I guess, addressing. So where do we? Where do we go from there? Yeah. Deb: So, so another myth of mindfulness is that it's [00:15:00] a religion, you know, a lot of people think it's associated or is like a Buddhist religion or it's. It's something monks practice. So it's not a religion. It's actually something that has become quite incorporated into modern society. Now, it has been around for a long time. It has its roots in Buddhism. But now there's been so much Scientific research on it. It's been incorporated into so many different kinds of therapies like cognitive based therapy acceptance and commitment therapy. It's been used in hospitals. It's been used with Children. It's been used with refugees. You know, it's not a religion. So that's one of the myths about it. Right? Some people think that it's really difficult. Oops. And it can be difficult to really allow ourselves to be open and nonjudgmental and just [00:16:00] experience life as life is and accept things as they are without trying to change them. But it also means that. You know, we, it doesn't mean that, like, we're not concerned with the future anymore, right? It's not, we're, we don't become the dude, we don't become, all right, all right, right? We still are concerned with the future. But what happens is, you know, when we were talking about, like, sometimes we're just so stuck in the past, we're just ruminating about the past, or we're just anxious and fretting about the future, well, what we want with mindfulness is we want more of a balance, you know, we want to allow for memories of the past. And we want to plan for the future, but we want to create more space in the middle. And the middle part is, is the now, right? A lot of people talk about like, how can we live longer? We all want to live longer. We talk about longevity [00:17:00] and whatnot. I think mindfulness is more about like, how can we live better? How can our days be more full? How can we be more present? How can we enjoy what we have right now? I love that. Because there's no guarantee. There's no guarantee about the future. The future is just a thought. It's a construct. And, and we don't know what's going to happen. And so, that's just mindfulness. Moment by moment. Candi: Right. Right. That's fantastic. And now that we kind of know some of the benefits and, and the myths behind, you know, mindfulness, how can we incorporate mindfulness in our day to Deb: day? Yeah, yeah. So, so much. Like, I mean, you can just start the day out right, you know, just take a moment to consciously be present throughout the day. You can [00:18:00] decide that, right? One way, when we're at work, we can work slower, but smarter. You know, a lot of the times when we're at work or when we're at home, we're just, we're so busy. We're trying to get everything done. Right? So we could just slow down into the moment into the task at hand, you know, do one thing at a time. One way you can practice mindfulness is by being more mindful when you're eating. So really taking the time to, to smell your food, to taste it, to chew it slowly, you know, just to really savor it. That's one way you can do mindfulness. You can do it when you're drinking your coffee or your tea, you know, just feeling that cup in your hand and, and the warmth on your hands and, and then just the, steam coming off of the coffee cup and just the smell and then just tasting [00:19:00] it, feeling it, just really go through your body. That's just being really present. And I mean, how many times do we eat or drink without even thinking about it or remembering it? All Candi: the time. All the time. It becomes a mind less. Activity, you know, it's just something that we're doing while we're doing something else. And so I really like that idea. And I love tea. You know, when I'm drinking that next mug of tea, I'll try to be a little bit more present in that moment and enjoying just the flavors and just the fact that I get to have something that brings me a little bit of warmth and enjoyment and relaxation. You know, and, and not use that time, you know, chugging tea while trying to get kids out the door and, you know, thinking of all the other things for the day, but just being present in that nice moment. Yeah, Deb: totally. [00:20:00] A big component of mindfulness, acceptance and that accepting things as they are, not as we would have them be. And, and sometimes when we go into work or whatnot and we notice that we're stressed. Just accepting that emotion, accepting like, wow, this is a crap day at work. Yeah. Instead of trying to fight it, right? Just allowing it, I mean, still focusing on the task at hand, focusing on solutions, but for too much, we're kind of judging ourselves and we're. You know, we end up in that, like, Oh, I should, I should be doing this. I should be doing that. I should, but I mean, we end up shitting all over ourselves in our lives, no matter what, you know, that Candi: shooting all over. Yes. Stop Deb: shitting all over yourself. I mean, that could be. Parental guilt or not getting your workout in or whatever we were full of should [00:21:00] so mindfulness is really about letting go of the judgment of of what we are doing and accepting it and allowing it great. Fantastic. Candi: Well, can you show us or give us an example or lead us through a little bit of a simple mindfulness practice that we could do on our own? Deb: Sure. Well, I have two. So one of my favorites is called box breathing. And that is, it's just a term for, we'll go through these series of breaths together, but basically this is a really cool thing to do. It's something that's taught to Navy SEALs. So guys, you can do it too. And the reason why is because it helps reduce cortisol. So cortisol is your stress hormone. It's, it's our little frenemy that rears up when we're in fight or flight. [00:22:00] And so box breathing is just a way to bring ourselves back to right now, the present moment. And, and just take a minute. Maybe take 30 seconds to just pause and breathe. And breath work is so good too because it's free. And it's accessible. Yes, this isn't costing you anything and you always have your breath. So you could do this in the bathroom. You could do it while you're driving. You can do it anytime. So we'll do it together, Candy. Okay, I'm ready. So we are going to inhale for four seconds. Okay. One, two, three, four. Hold that breath for four seconds. Three, four. Now slowly exhale for four seconds. One, two, [00:23:00] three, four. Let's go ahead and repeat that. Inhale. One, two, three, four. Hold. One, two, three, four. Exhale. One, two, three, four. Three, four. And we could keep doing it for a full minute, but it, it's just, it, it takes your, yourself back into yourself, right? You're counting. Yes. So, so you're not thinking about other things, you're counting. And then you're breathing and you're slowing your breathing intentionally. When we slow down, when we slow our breathing, then that calms our nervous system too. So that that's a super simple thing. You don't need to be a monk to do that. Candi: No, that is [00:24:00] great. And you can, you can almost immediately feel just a little bit more relaxed. And again, like you said, when you're count, when you're thinking about counting, like I need to hold it for four seconds, your mind is focused there and on that breath. And it really does help to kind of block out. You know, everything else. So that's, that's definitely something I would like to do in the car in my transition between coming home from work and. Going home to the children being hungry and needing homework. A nice little. Totally, Deb: yeah. And you can do it with your kids. Oh Candi: yeah, definitely, definitely. I've heard about the benefits and I've also heard about some of the schools starting to try and incorporate mindfulness for children and having some moments in the classroom for that. You know. If kids are struggling to kind of stay focused or, you know, just that little moment because they're seeing the benefits in children and I think that's [00:25:00] fantastic and definitely something that we can practice with our families and, and also encourage our friends and colleagues as well. Deb: Yeah, see, it's easy. And I'm glad you brought up transition. Another thing you could do is each time that you transition a room. Or anything with a door passing through a door is to acknowledge, you know, just pause even for a second and take a breath and just acknowledge moving into a new space and finishing with an old one. Right? And so you can set up cues. that help you be more mindful like that. You could put sticky notes around your house or in your office to remind you just to take a pause, do box breathing. You could set an alarm on your phone. You could schedule it in your calendar. You, you [00:26:00] know, there, there, there are different ways we can keep bringing it back to now. Keep bringing it back to now, because right now we are okay. Candi: Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing about this, Debbie. I'm excited to incorporate some of these things into my, my day today and hopefully some of our listeners will be able to as well. Are there any final thoughts that you would like to share in regard to this topic of mindfulness? Deb: I think the other one I wanted to share about was gratitude. You know, we, we talk about gratitude a lot. We don't always connect it with being mindful, but when we practice gratitude, what we are doing is bringing ourselves back to now and being grateful for what we have right now, instead of. Focusing on the future, you know, so often we're like, okay, when I graduate from school, then I'll be happy. When I retire, then I'll be happy. When [00:27:00] I get off at five, then I'll be happy. Right? Right. So when we do gratitude practice, that brings us back to right now. Okay. Right now, I am at work, and I am so grateful to be able to talk to you about this candy. You know, I'm so grateful that I have an office I can work in. I'm so grateful that I have a job. You know, you see how you're just like, back to now, instead of focused on the future again. And same with people who are like, trying to accomplish a goal, you know, maybe it's weight loss and, and they're just not where they want to be, you know, there becomes this big gap between where we are now and where we want to be. And so bringing it back to right now, like, right now, maybe I'm not where I want to be in my body, but. Wow. I can really feel gratitude for, for my breath. I can feel gratitude for my legs that brought me [00:28:00] here that I can still walk that I can, you know, I have this body that is doing all these things that I don't have to do. Right. It's breathing for me. My heart is beating for me. I'm not even doing anything, and it's taking care of me. Right. So I, I do like to just point out that gratitude is a way to come back to now. These are all Candi: such wonderful, wonderful tips. Practical things that we can do to help us be more mindful, more present and grateful. I love the gratitude situation and taking that moment to just look at what we do have and instead of, you know all those things that get into our heads and you know, where we feel that we should be. So that's an excellent, excellent step that people can start doing. So wonderful. Well, thank you, Debbie, so much for talking us through this and wonderful [00:29:00] resources, wonderful tips on how we can incorporate mindfulness in our day to day lives. All right. I'm back on the alcohol tipping point. Podcast again. I just wanted to thank you for listening to that's a conversation I had with candy about mindfulness. And I'd love to invite you again to join the mindful AAF program that's starting September 13th. You can go to alcohol to eight F. And if you join before August 20th, you get an early bird discount. Hope you have a wonderful day, and I'll talk to you next week. [00:30:00]

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