Practicing Mindfulness, the 18th Online Joint Class Tel-U and MMU
Practicing Mindfulness, the 18th Online Joint Class Tel-U and MMU. Not many people know that mindfulness has a direct impact on everyday life. Especially in this pandemic era, mindfulness is useful for controlling reactions in dealing with problems, even to increase immune system. Mindfulness can reduce stress (or distress) and balance your mind and body to be in the present.
Living with awareness can also build resilience and well-being. On the 18th Online Joint Class between Telkom University and Multimedia University, Malaysia which was held on Tuesday (6/10), three speakers shared information about how to achieve mindfulness with several ways, discussed how mindfulness has many benefits for everyday life, and also practiced meditation as a way to get mindfulness.
Prof. Lai Ming Ming from MMU’s Faculty of Management who focuses on human research interest explained to all the participants about the foundations of awareness. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is known as a professor of mindfulness in western society, mindfulness is awareness that arises through deliberate attention, being in the present moment, and not judging the unfolding of experience moment by moment.
“This is because the body can only exist in the present, but our minds can travel to the past or the future. So, attention must be presented as practice rather than theory, “said Prof. Lai.
There are several basic ways for attaining the state of consciousness. The first way is non-judgmental which means trying to stay open to whatever happens. The second way is patience, a form of wisdom which shows that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes something has to go away in its own time.
The third way is the beginner’s mind. Too often we let our thoughts and beliefs about what we “know” prevent us from seeing things as they really are. The next way is to believe in yourself and your own basic wisdom and goodness are very important in all aspects of meditation practice. Another way is a non-striving act that teaches us to enjoy every process. The next important attitude is acceptance and being a very active process. Acceptance isn’t about resignation, it’s about courage.
Prof Lai continued to the next way which is letting go. It is the basis of mindfulness practice. Letting go is a way of letting our experiences be what they are and practicing observing them. And the last one is generosity and gratitude. Gratitude not only improves our mental health, but also improves our physical health as well.
There are other ways to build resilience, shared by Prof. Lai: nurturing relationships, seeking meaning in adversity, optimism and assertiveness. The last is to accept that change is a part of life.
The second speaker was Dr. Anisah Jumaat, a lecturer at the Management Faculty of Multimedia University Malaysia. She shared about the benefits of mindfulness for our mental, physical and social health. Starting by defining stress as the mental and physical state that humans feel when they experience something threatening, she also mentioned that there are two natural responses from humans, namely the stress response, the sympathetic response, and the parasympathetic response.
The sympathetic response, also known as the fight-or-flight response, is when the body activates a resource to help a person survive and face a challenge, or get out (to safety) as quickly as possible. When the body handles stress well, a relaxation response will follow, including releasing fighting hormones.
Prolonged stress can keep our bodies in a state of being ready for physical action. When the body doesn’t have time to restore balance, it becomes overworked and can weaken the immune system, leaving a body susceptible to disease.
Some of the common effects of stress include heart disease, digestive problems, low immunity, asthma, eczema, insomnia, obesity, as well as accelerated aging.
“But for people who are healthy and resilient and have full attention, there is a good emotional and psychological state and can improve mood, reduce anxiety as well as depression, and reduce work fatigue,” said Dr. Anisah.
Alertness also has physical benefits such as reducing inflammation (C-reactive protein), playing a role in fighting cancer by increasing T-cell levels, and also reducing aging by increasing telomerase activity and telomere length. It can also be of great use to us in the face of the Covid19 pandemic in overcoming physical, mental, emotional and social challenges. At the end of the session, Mr. Vincent Oh Kim Seng, a lecturer of Multimedia University Malaysia guided all participants to parctice meditation to gain mindfulness. Although it only took some times to practice breathing, it surely trained ourselves to be focused and to be mindfulness.(IO)***