What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique in which a specific mental state is achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment. Rather than trying to change the situation, it teaches the person to change the nature of their response to the situation or problem. Think of mindfulness as being attentive to what you are doing, with nonjudgmental acceptance of your current emotions and experiences.
A number of research studies have shown that regular practice of mindfulness strategies can make a big impact on people with special needs and their caregivers.
Why Might Mindfulness be Helpful for You?
If you are a parent of someone with a disability, chances are, you have experienced high levels of stress. The good news is that there is something you can do about it!
Mindfulness expert Dr. Nirbhay Singh spoke at the 2019 FPWR Family Conference, and focused on a different way of addressing behaviors challenges in PWS and caregiver fatigue. In his workshop, Dr. Singh showed how learning and practicing Mindfulness skills can be very helpful, for not only the caregiver, but also the person with PWS.
According to Dr. Singh, we do things when we're upset that we regret later. When we reduce parental stress, parents are in a better able to provide loving kindness. Dr. Singh also talked about a study of caregivers that showed 10-weeks of mindfulness had a statistical clinical improvement in stress and when the parent's stress goes down, 'whatever you are doing, it just makes it better.'
In addition to previous published research, there is a current ongoing study funded by FPWR looking at training people with PWS to use a mindfulness technique designed specifically for people with Intellectual Disability called Soles of the Feet to help reduce challenging behaviors such as temper outbursts and other forms of distress.