How can mindfulness be used in occupational therapy practice?
Mindfulness can be used in personal and work settings to recenter the body and mind from anxiety and stress into calm. Mindfulness action builds upon one’s emotional intelligence and allows focused, productive responses to situations beyond one’s control. The practice of learning to be present and non-judgmental can be life-changing.
Mindfulness can be used as or part of intervention for:
- Musculoskeletal and Pain Disorders
- Neurocognitive and Neuromotor Disorders
- Urinary Incontinence
- Vestibular Dysfunction
- Depression and Anxiety
- Cancer-related Fatigue
- Social Emotional Learning
- Focus and Attention
Within the literature, I think you will be able to find how mindfulness is integrated into occupational therapy as an intervention or as a preparatory activity for persons who have musculoskeletal and pain disorders. It can also be used for persons who have neurocognitive and neuromotor disorders or those with emotional regulation issues. Mindfulness helps them understand and not react to the feelings that they are having in their body to help them carry out more purposeful responses.
Now, I never thought of mindfulness in the area of urinary incontinence, but it makes sense. Mindfulness is knowing what is happening in your body and noticing the sensations at any particular time. Mindfulness has been shown to have positive effects on persons who have vestibular dysfunction due to this same bodily awareness.
I think mindfulness application is probably the most documented for persons with depression and anxiety. It can also help those with fatigue by increasing feelings of relaxation to enhance a person's ability to have the energy to do the things that they choose to do.
Social-emotional learning in schools utilizes mindfulness. It helps to show how their responses affect relationships with other people, increases focus and attention, and, most notably, helps with self-regulation.
This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Mindfulness And Emotional Intelligence, presented by Ingrid Provident, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA.