Mindfulness: a freedom we can still have in the pandemic

pandemic 2020

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Giovanna Freitas Munaretto, a Medical Student at Tiradentes University – UNIT / SE. Current President of the International Federation of Medical Students Association Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Freedom, which has always been desired by man, has always belonged to us. The mind expresses the true meaning of total freedom, breaking down barriers of time, place and space, giving rise to the infinities of the imagination. However, it is known that our thoughts can be directly influenced by the environment in which we are inserted. Being “house arrest” for many seems like an inconceivable idea. When we take away the freedom to come and go from citizens, do we make them prisoners of their own thoughts too? Unfortunately, this is a reality for millions of people during the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Suddenly, we started to inhabit a new world, without even need to move. Resistance to this new reality is normal: distortion under the perception of time, new ways of behaving and relating, the work environment is no longer physical – making us develop technological skills not previously needed, and constantly concern about the future. During quarantine times, humans are taken by two feelings: fear and anxiety. Fear of death and economic consequences, and anxiety about the need to get your conventional world back. Restless minds are being forced to slow down.

Just like a person learning to drive, braking at the beginning seems very hard. With the impossibility of seeking professional help in quarantine to treat this fear and anxiety, it is increasingly necessary to create appropriate and reliable “self-help” strategies. One of the strategies that has been used for years is meditation. It exists in several ways, but the most used nowadays is the “mindfulness”. This can be defined as a specific form of attention – concentration at the present moment, intentionally and without judgment. It means being fully in touch with the experience of the moment, without being absorbed by it and without any criticism or judgment of value.

The practice of mindfulness meditation, for example, involves a form of moment-to-moment awareness in the course of daily activity, enabling the individual to respond instead of reacting to the events of life. These changes in cognitive judgments and assessments helps to reduce anxiety and stress, and promote an improvement in an individual’s ability to deal more effectively with stressful situations (Kabat-Zinn, 1992; Miller, 1995). Consequently, this new cognitive approach, which provides a greater number of associated options and a sense of control, may at least in part be responsible for the long-term psychological and physical improvements seen with the practice of meditation (Kabat-Zinn, 1992; Astin , 1997).

Thus, it is essential that people become aware of contemplative practices, such as mindfulness, so that we can flatten the curve of psychological patients during the quarantine.

References

SADOCK, Benjamin J; SADOCK Virginia A. Manual de psiquiatria clínica. 5. ed. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2012.

SCHVEITZER, Mariana Cabral; ESPER, Marcos Venicio; SILVA, Maria Julia Paes da. Práticas Integrativas e Complementares na Atenção Primária em Saúde: em busca da humanização do cuidado. São Paulo, 2012. Disponível em: <http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/artigos/mundo_saude/praticas_integrativas_complementares_atencao_primaria.pdf>. Access in : 2020 april 23 .

SOUZA, Thiago Henrique Almeida. Efeito da meditação natural stress relief na ansiedade de estudantes universitários com transtorno de ansiedade social: Ensaio clínico randomizado e controlado. Dissertação apresentada ao Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde. Universidade Federal de Sergipe. Aracaju, 2017. Available from: <https://ri.ufs.br/bitstream/riufs/3827/1/THIAGO_HENRIQUE_ALMEIDA_SOUZA.pdf> Access in : 2020 april 23 .

VORKAPIC, Camila Ferreira; RANGÉ, Bernard. Os benefícios do yoga nos transtornos de ansiedade. Revista Brasileira de Terapias Cognitivas, São Paulo, v. 7 n.1 p. 50-54, 2011. Available from: <http://pepsic.bvsalud.org/pdf/rbtc/v7n1/v7n1a09.pdf> . Access in : 2020 april 23 .

About the author

Giovanna Freitas Munaretto is a Medical Student at Tiradentes University – UNIT / SE. Current President of the International Federation of Medical Students Association Brazil UNIT (IFMSA Brazil UNIT). Financial Director of the Academic League of Proctology and Digestive Surgery (PROCTOLIGA). Managing Member of the Neuroscience Research Group at Universidade Tiradentes: Clube do Neurônio. Collaborating member and volunteer researcher at the Human Motricity Biosciences Laboratory (LABIMH-SE) in the areas of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Graduated in English from Yazigi in 2016. French student from UNIT Idiomas. Interested in research and extension projects in different areas of Medical Sciences. Dedicated to seeking knowledge of new cultures and languages, as well as developing leadership skills.

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  1. […] learn more about mindfulness and how to practice it, check out this recent article in The European Sting.  And as always, Diamond Mountain wishes you positivity and […]

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