Calmer Choice Offers Mindfulness During Challenging Pandemic

YARMOUTH – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Calmer Choice is showing the community ways to practice mindfulness to help combat anxiety.

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the moment and learning to guide one’s own attention and focus effectively towards positive ends.

Instructors with the Yarmouth-based, secular organization said to take time daily to note things and moments.

Taking the time to ruminate on positive events helps create neurotransmitters in the brain that can improve mood, said instructor with Calmer Choice Patti Weinstein.

“Not just ‘oh I’m grateful for my family’ but why. Getting into the why of the gratitude, so you’re actually deepening the experience within you and holding onto it when you relive it,” said Weinstein.

Weinstein recommended taking five to ten seconds to deeply internalize positive experiences to fully cement the emotion.

According to Weinstein, the brain is shaped by experiences, which can be affected by focusing attention towards moments of compassion or feelings of gratitude.

Weinstein said gratitude and appreciation can make the brain release dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters involved in positive emotions.

Whether the brain is actually experiencing a positive event or just reliving it through mindfulness techniques still has the same effect for the brain, she said.

“Some of the benefits of gratitude is that it supports our physical health and strengthens the immune system and helps us recover from loss and trauma. It helps the loss of control and the trauma that we’re all experiencing with this situation,” said Weinstein.

“Even when I recall it, I have in the present moment the feeling of gratefulness.”

Other techniques involved in mindfulness that can produce calming effects include quiet meditation for ten minutes, as well as mindful and relaxed breathing to regulate anxiety.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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