Rachel

Full transcription coming soon. The entire audio interview is available above.

Rachel is a recent college graduate with a B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University. 

“I’m a big fan of mindfulness, and there are a lot of benefits, so mindfulness is being aware, [or] present…[and] there are mindfulness exercises such as, a body scan, mindfulness meditation… There’s a bunch of apps for it, Headspace is one, you can find free ones on YouTube, so many resources that have good benefits to help reduce stress…even if you try to meditate for five minutes, see if it works, do it consistently, you know? Maybe you’ll see a difference.” 


Interview highlights:

“This is an extraordinary time and I think once you acknowledge that, you’re in touch with reality, you’re like ‘okay, things might not be the same, but I can do it.’ Whereas, if you kind of be like, ‘oh no I can just plow on as normal,’ you know, the situations are a little different and I think acknowledging that can help you really unload a lot. So I think that’s an important thing . . . I’m a big fan of mindfulness, and there are a lot of benefits, so mindfulness is, you know, being aware, present, um, it’s a whole bunch of things, and so there are mindfulness exercises such as, a body scan, mindfulness meditation…I know people, a lot of people, will think these are religious practices but they’re not, you can have secular meditation, you know? There’s a bunch of apps for it, Headspace is one, you can find free ones on YouTube, so many resources that have good benefits to help reduce stress um and so those are some other easy resources, even if you try to meditate for five minutes, see if it works, do it consistently, you know? Maybe you’ll see a difference.” 

“Social support has been shown to decrease activation of the HPA access and so basically that’s like your stress system. So what that does is, you know, it increases what is activated – it increases cortisol levels . . . you’re really alert. Your pupils are dilated…that’s good for certain things…but our HPA access and the stress access is still, you know, engaged, is still responding to certain stimuli. And the issue with this is current stress. So when your HPA access is continually activated, cortisol levels are heightened, abnormal, what have you, negative health effects -mortality, um, or higher incidence of diabetes . . . what’s been shown is, having social support, in stressful situations, even just having another person present in the room, decreases the activation of that access.” 

Mindfulness and reducing stress
Image from Shutterstock. Focusing on mindfulness and reducing stress levels during this pandemic.

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