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July 22 Webinar: Mental Health and Well-Being: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Video Recording A video recording of this webinar is available for you to watch. Mental Health and Well-Being in the Age of COVID: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Implications and Practices Join us for a free webinar sponsored by the University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry UMMC EAP Programs. The webinar includes 1 CEU for Social […]

May 10 Webinar: Crisis in America: Fake Pills and Fentanyl

Video Recording A video recording of this webinar is available for you to watch.

Mar 25 Webinar: Successful Dialogue on Uncomfortable Topics

Video Recording A video recording of this webinar is available for you to watch. Successful Dialogue on Uncomfortable Topics: Sex, Politics, Race and Religion Join us for a free webinar sponsored by the University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry UMMC EAP Programs. The webinar includes 2 CEUs for Social Workers and Counselors. Friday, March 25, […]

July 20 Webinar: Taming Anxiety and the Return to “Normal”

Taming Anxiety and the Return to “Normal” Join us for a free webinar sponsored by the University of Maryland Department of Psychiatry UMMC EAP Programs. Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 3:00 pm For over a year we have not known ‘what comes next’. Carefully, we can move back to our pre-pandemic lives, but we are […]

Stress Management- 3 Ideas

3 simple strategies to help you focus and de-stress

Do daily distractions leave you feeling unfocused and stressed? Take a breath. Here are three great ways to start taking back control.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Does it seem like you can’t complete even the simplest task without being distracted? Texts, emails, social media alerts, noisy colleagues, ringing phones… Friends, you are not alone.

Distracted thinking — aka daydreaming or mind wandering — affects everyone. In fact, researchers have found that people think about something other than what they’re actually doing — or supposed to be doing — almost half of the time. Turns out that a wandering, easily distracted mind is actually the default mode for the human brain.

Succumbing to distraction over and over, though, can build stress, foster unhappiness and even lead to depression. So if you’re one of the many looking to figure out how to handle distractions and improve your ability to focus, take comfort in the fact that research has shown a way forward.

One word: mindfulness.

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of where you are and what you’re doing. At work, for instance, it means you’re focused on the project in front of you; walking with a friend, it gives you the ability to really focus on your surroundings and your conversation. Scientists have shown that you can actually train your brain to become more mindful. Like anything else, it just takes practice.

Ready to get started? These three practices have all proven useful in building mindfulness.

1. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

MBSR training has become a recognized way to help people learn to avoid distractions and increase their attention on the task in front of them. It can also help improve memory, motivation and autonomy — all things likely to make you (and your boss) happier. MBSR programs typically include breathing, stretching and awareness exercises.

2. Meditation

Meditation aims to increase your awareness of the present moment and help you develop a gentle, accepting attitude toward yourself. Regular meditation practice has been shown to actually alter the brain — in a good way. One study showed that the area of the brain dedicated to regulating your emotions was significantly larger in meditators. In other words, in a world determined to trip you up with distractions and unpleasant surprises, meditation can help you stay more positive and more focused.

3. Mindful movement

The hallmarks of mindful movement, or yoga — structured breathing, controlled movement, mental focus — make it sound like the perfect antidote to stress and distracted thinking, but does science back that up? Yes, over and over again. Many studies have found that, after beginning a yoga program, people feel less stressed, more focused, even more optimistic. In fact, yoga’s been found to be even more beneficial to people who’re highly stressed.

In today’s so-called attention economy, the world is actually being designed to distract you. Everybody wants your attention, and they want it right now. But you can take back control of your focus, shed that stress, and wake up happier to meet your day.

Ready to commit to becoming more mindful? Great, go for it!