So, we mention Mindfulness and what springs to mind? Images of people sitting cross-legged over hot stones gently chanting to themselves?
What should spring to mind? The idea of awareness, of being present in the moment. The concept of effectively recognising and managing your emotions in order you are more able to deal with stressful situations (MIND 2018).
Re-read that last section, and think – as student nurses (and registered nurses) wouldn’t this be a fantastic skill to harness? When you’re in the thick of it, either on a ward or in the community – when the pressure is mounting and the list of priority tasks is growing and the phone keeps ringing and you still need to document and relatives and patients alike still need reassuring.
And now, take a breath and imagine you had been taught a skill which better enables you to be more present in the current moment. To be able to recognise that this is a busy situation. But not focus negatively on the emotions attached to that. Not to get flustered with the reasons how and why.
Mindfulness is just that. NHS (2018) describes it as an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen, each one at a time. It’s about not getting caught up in our thoughts and instead allowing you to notice when these are driving our behaviour.
In terms of well-being, mindfulness can be used to help you ‘let go’ of situations and issues – “Is trying to solve this by stressing about it helpful, or am I just getting caught up in my thoughts?” and then it teaches methods to move forward. NICE (2014) recommend it’s used for people with depression and anxiety.
Abby and I can only tell you from personal experience the positive effects that mindfulness has had on both our learning and wellbeing. And if getting older has taught me anything, it’s that being happy isn’t a one-off decision that you wake up one morning and make and then that’s it, you’re happy forever. And the same goes for nursing. You don’t decide to be a nurse once. In either situation, you will be tested. You will keep coming to forks in the road. And it’s about making that decision, that commitment, over and over. Deciding to do or be anything is a lifelong commitment. A decision that you have to keep making. Whether it’s to be happy or to further a career you love, you have to keep choosing the path which leads that way.
So, the aim of this Tweetchat is to find out how much we all know about mindfulness, to teach each other; to help each other; to discuss ways it can help patients; and find out any other ways you all use to help manage stressful situations, either in university or in practice. Or do you disagree entirely? Do you thrive off the adrenaline and stress? Either way, let’s get sharing! We’re definitely not suggesting there’s a ‘right’ way to cope, but let’s share our experience of mindfulness and support each other to find ways we can strive as student nurses. Join us on Wednesday the 19th of June 2019 for our Tweetchat all about Mindfulness as a Student Nurse.
NHS (2018) Mindfulness Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/ (Accessed: 12/06/2019)
NICE (2014) Depression in Adults Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg90/ifp/chapter/Depression (Accessed: 12/06/2019)
MIND (2018) Mindfulness Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/#.XQEQzBNKgWo (Accessed: 12/06/2019)