Picture of a water riffle effect

In today’s world, people often feel buried by stress, anxiety, worries about the future, self-doubt, and array of other sources of distress. In addition to these concerns, people who have disabilities and mental health issues, and their families, have additional sources of stress, including-but not limited to-medical and intervention bills, lack of community supports, and disparities in services provided to them.  All of this stress only exacerbates the challenges they might face on a day to day basis.  Fortunately for us all, research is garnering more and more support for something that could help us live with all of the stress in our lives.  And this something has been around for thousands of years.  Mindfulness, or “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” (according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is at the forefront of Western mindfulness practice), can help decrease a lot of the psychological suffering that we struggle with day in and day out.  Research has demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness for a vast number of populations, from people who battle depression to parents of children with autism to individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia.  My own personal practice of mindfulness has led to a life-changing conclusion: my life will never be free of stress, obstacles, or painful events, but I can learn to live with all of this this, without feeling as though I am always suffering.  Anyone who thinks they can benefit from a shift in perspective, a relief from distress, and an increase in contentment may want to explore incorporating mindful practices into their lives; more information regarding this topic can be found at: www.mindful.org.