For some, when you read the words ‘reflective practice’
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, your stress level instantly rises, the thought of working through this extremely useful, yet at times, painful experience, brings about anxiety and overwhelm. For others, a shrug of the shoulders. And for others still.. ‘yep, love what it brings out in my nursing practice’.
For you, it may be a mixed emotion, depending on the time in the semester or clinical placement.
What I would like to do today is to prompt you to stop; think; reflect not only your clinical practice but also your life. Is it going well? Are the results what you want? And what you might need to do differently if things are not quite the way you thought they would be.
According to Dr Timothy Sharp from the Happiness Institute, mindfulness, is positively linked to self-regulatory behavior (like a good study regime) and positive emotional states.
Simply, what this means is when you are being mindful, and actually thinking about what is happening in your world at any moment, you are more likely to do the right things and thus, feel pretty darn good. Dr. Sharp goes on to say that reflecting and being mindful brings about this type of outcome, research shows there is also a reduction in stress and of course a positive improvement on wellbeing.
This is pretty cool, being mindful and taking notice of your thoughts can lead to behaving better, feeling better and living better!
So let’s hit the pause button here, what exactly is being mindful or mindfulness. Simply, it is the act of being self-aware, of being in the present and accepting things as they are. This means being aware of what is happening, not what you would like to happen, or what you are thinking in your head is happening, just letting things be as they are….right now.
Is this relevant to your studies?… the answer is yes. By taking a moment to take stock of what is happening in your studies and life will help you stay on track, focus and get the results you desire.
How to do you learn to be mindful? Here are a couple of quick tips to get you started on the art of mindfulness.
Get out your tablet, your phone, or your watch with a second hand. Make sure you can see it clearly in front of you. The aim of this exercise is to focus on your breathing and nothing else, on the inspiration and expiration only. Start your timer or on the 12 o’clock….ready, set, go! For sixty seconds completely focus on your breathing only.
In the busy world in which we live, the art of eating a meal without engaging in any other activities is rare. The purpose of this exercise is to turn off all distractions; the TV, tablet, phone, put down the newspaper and books and turn off the music. Sit at the table and really focus on the meal in front of you, its appearance, the smell, the taste, the portion size, how you cut your food up, how you use your arm to raise the utensil to your mouth. A bit like a personal master chef judge… Really enjoy the moment of the meal, the taste sensation and how filling the meal can be. Bon Apetite!
The next time you take a walk for whatever reason, take notice! Just like eating and breathing, concentrate on how your feet feel touching the ground, your breathing, the feel of your shoes. Observe what is around you, the sensations going on, making sure you stay right where you need to be…in the present.
These tips are just a start; mindfulness can be undertaken pretty much at any time or place. What ideas have you come up with? Make sure you share your ideas with the Nurse Power for Students community below on our Facebook page.
As always, if you are experiencing a challenge right now, why not send an email to the Nurse Power team, we have a lot of resources available to support you through the good, and the not so good parts of your journey as a student, and it is totally free. more[at]nursepower.aithosting.net
In the meantime, wishing one and all a great week. The semester is well under way, clinical placements taking place, make sure you take time for you.