The term mindfulness has become a hot topic these days with many wanting to know how they can improve their daily lives as they pay more attention to themselves. It has been said that you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself. Mindfulness allows you to do just that in your nursing career. Although you might think that mindful nursing would take up more of your day, it actually requires no extra time but allows you to better enjoy your work and adds more value for your patients.
What Is Mindful Nursing?
Mindfulness refers to an increased awareness of your environment. It helps you become curious about yourself and your surroundings. In nursing, it refers to an awareness of your thoughts and reactions as you work.
Some may think that mindfulness refers to emptying the mind of any thoughts in an effort to become more relaxed. However, this is not the case as you will actually be paying close attention to all of your senses as you seek to learn more about yourself and the world. During a shift at work, mindfulness decreases stressful situations and helps you think clearly. It improves your body and mind while also improving your interactions with your patients.
How Can Nurses Become More Mindful?
There have been plenty of research studies performed on mindfulness-based stress reduction, also called MBSR. While initial studies nearly 40 years ago focused on using mindfulness to decrease pain, this program also demonstrated improvements for a variety of other mental and physical conditions, including daily stress. While the average nurse is not going to have the time or inclination to join an MBSR study group, you can take some of the findings of previous studies and make them work for you.
-Use your breath to guide you.
Breathing is an important way to calm your mind. Take a few minutes before work or on a break to pay attention to your breathing. You do not have to control your breath but only need to consider it. You can even benefit from a few deep breaths before heading into work.
-Become aware of your daily movements.
Without adopting a judgmental attitude toward yourself, consider how you do everyday tasks on the job. Notice how you move your body as you walk down a hall. Becoming aware of normal sensations can calm your mind.
-Consider each of your five senses if you are particularly stressed.
Think about what you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell.
-Be fully present with each of your patients.
Bring your attention back to the present if your mind wanders.
What Benefits Does Mindful Nursing Provide?
Mindful nursing can benefit you and your nursing practice. Your patients will feel more connected to you and may respond better to your recommendations. You may begin to feel more compassion toward your patients and may be reminded of why you went into this career in the first place.
Personally, daily mindfulness can calm your mind, stop your thoughts from racing and decrease stress. Over time, this can lead to improved mental and physical health because stress can actually harm the body and mind. Mindful nursing will help you become your authentic self and will help you focus on the present rather than worry about the future.