Mindfulness 

Mindfulness means to mentally be in the “here and now,” focusing on the present moment without distracting yourself from thoughts of the future and past. As a result, practicing mindfulness allows you to take a step back and pay attention to your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is easy to get carried away and lose sight of appreciating the moments in our lives when overwhelmed by stressors and the demands that are placed on us. Mindfulness is one of the most convenient coping strategies we can engage in, yet it is not incorporated enough into our daily routines, or at all, and can be easily overlooked. It has multiple benefits on our well-being such as decreasing anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. Furthermore it has been shown to increase our state of relaxation and have a more positive outlook on our lives and relationships. 

Mindfulness and Brain Injuries 

After a brain injury individuals may experience cognitive problems with initiation and concentration, difficulties balancing their activities with rest, and experience new physical changes, making it difficult to successfully engage the activities they use to participate in. Studies have shown mindfulness-based treatment sessions to have benefits on neurological conditions such as TBI,  stroke, and multiple sclerosis in reducing fatigue that is manifested either physically or mentally. Mindfulness has also been shown to improve the health status, performance, and satisfaction in activities for individuals with a brain injury secondary to improving cognition, quality of life, and mental fatigue when combined with gentle aerobic exercises. Medication, a form of mindfulness, can have positive benefits for an individual with TBI’s attention, memory, executive functioning, and improve their moods. One of mindfulness’ principles is practicing acceptance, which could be contributing factor for the positive effects for the TBI population, particularly individuals with a negative self-image after their incident. 

Below listed are mindfulness quotes and strategies that may be helpful. 

Mindfulness Quotes  Mindfulness Strategies  

 

  • “Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.”  – Thích Nhất Hạnh 
  • “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the moment on the present moment.”  -Buddha 
  • The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.”  

       -Thích Nhất Hạnh 

  • “When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield 
  • “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Jon Kabat-Zinn 
  • “We do not remember days, we remember the moments. Too often we forget that the greatest part of life is made up of the little things.” -unknown 
  • Body scanning 
  • Progressive muscle relaxation 
  • Breathing techniques 
  • Yoga (or chair yoga) 
  • T’ai chi 
  • Meditation 
  • Guided imagery 
  • Coloring books 
  • Grounding techniques (e.g., the five senses exercise) 
  • Creating a gratitude list (write one you are grateful for everyday) 
  • Journal or drawing 
  • Creating art 
  • Listening to music 
  • Any activity that brings you flow (losing track of time while engaging in an activity you enjoy) 

 

References 

Ulrichsen, K. M., Kaufmann, T., Dørum, E. S., Kolskår, K. K., Richard, G., Alnæs, D., Arneberg, T. J., Westlye, L. T., & Nordvik, J. E. (2016). Clinical Utility of Mindfulness Training in the Treatment of Fatigue After Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis. Frontiers in psychology7, 912. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00912 

 

Lilliecreutz, E. K., Felixson, B., Lundqvist, A., & Samuelsson, K. (2017). Effects of guided aerobic exercise and mindfulness after acquired brain injury: a pilot study. European Journal of Physiotherapy,19(4),229–236. 

https://doi-org.westcoastuniversity.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/21679169.2017.1337220 

 

Human Performance Resource Center, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. (2019). Can meditation help after brain injury? BrainLine. https://www.brainline.org/article/can-meditation-help-after-brain-injury 

NeuroPraxis is a Brain Injury Rehab Program for the Home and Community for Los Angeles, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, and Ventura.

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